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May 2017

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Sophie is being three as hard as she can. This evening was somehow archetypical of the way she lives life, so I thought I'd give a little snapshot of our commute home.

Hello astronaut!!

Sophie and the astronauts of Z├╝rich

On Wednesdays, Sophie goes to a different childminder (who is good friends with the normal one - I gather that they share jobs reasonably often) who is babysitting / nannying a pair of boys around the corner from her school. So the childcare happens there and Sophie gets the boys as playmates for an afternoon per week. They usually go out to the playground or the park or some such, and half the time I pick her up I find them all in the garage playing with skateboards or what have you.

But when I arrived to pick her up today no one was answering the doorbell. I was just wondering what was going on when I saw her walking up to the house with the childminder and the younger boy, from the playground where I guess they'd been having great fun playing. Actually this was quite convenient for me since it can be hard to extract her from the house, and especially hard to extract her from the garage.

And then we started our journey home. This involved a great many stages.

1) Stop and say hello to an astronaut. (The fire hydrants are astronauts, and in the mornings they work on their laptops, and they are all great friends with Sophie and get regular hugs and kisses from her.) Explain to Mummy that we have to stay with the astronaut. Only move on after a little wanting-chocolate-induced duress.

2) Give the astronaut a big kiss goodbye. Meet another astronaut further up the road and have an extended conversation with it.

3) Run into someone she knows from school and a woman who I suppose is his mother at the tram stop. The woman knows Sophie by name, though I can't remember having seen her before; the boy is either in the last year of kindergarten or the first year of elementary judging by his size. (N.b. seems that bloody everyone at that school knows Sophie by name by now. I gather she's popular.)

4) Get on the tram, where she sits down right next to a lady and her little boy who is sitting in her lap.

5) Decides she needs a copy of 'Blick' (a local free commuter tabloid) and walks in the moving tram to go get it. Sits back down to leaf through it like a proper commuter.

6) Points out to me that "look! That boy is all black!" and that so is his mother.

7) Continues reading; looks up and tells the boy sternly that he can't have her newspaper.

8) Accepts my suggestion that he only wants to see what she's doing (he's been looking curiously for some time but not tried to grab it or anything), and says that yes, of course he can look. Starts showing him the pictures in the paper.

9) Gets into a discussion with him over a picture of Lego men that for some reason is in the newspaper centrefold.

10) Gets off the tram, waves bye-bye to the boy and his mother, insists that we take the newspaper with her. (Yes, the house fills up with newspaper eventually.)

11) Insists that we run a race back toward home, and get sore legs. Just like Daddy in his marathon a few days ago.

12) Stops running because we have to stop and stretch. Orders Mummy to join in - I have to put down all the things of hers that I am carrying in the middle of the sidewalk and squat and grab my toes just as she is doing.

13) Repeat 11 and 12 a few times.
40 months

Sophie vs. horse, 40 months

14) Run up abreast of a woman walking in front of us, and excitedly point out to her that we are running. This particular woman doesn't respond or notice, but fairly often she gets into conversation with strangers this way.

15) Spot a runner going the other way and shout that we are running together! Elicit a laugh from him.

16) Hear voices of a couple of boys up in a tree. Stop running in order to talk to them and ask them what they're doing and who they are. They confer with each other about how to say what they're doing in English, and manage. (She is strongly favouring English these days.)

17) Run the rest of the way home, so that she can start *really* playing.

This is more or less what life with Sophie is like all the time. It's certainly obvious that she didn't inherit her parents' fear of talking to strangers. I'm wondering how long it will be before everyone in the neighbourhood knows exactly who she is.

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