“What does ‘rallywave’ mean?” I asked her.
“It’s when you push a button in the elevator and it spins around really fast.”
“So, rallywave means pushing a button in an elevator so it spins around really fast?”
“Yeah. And then there’s lots of grass on the ground.”
“That makes no sense.”
It still doesn’t make any sense, and if any of you have any clues to help me understand this, I’m all ears. She didn’t care that it didn’t make sense to me, though; she continued to shout “Rallywave!” at the kids in the book, happily unconcerned with my assessment of her new word.
Toddlers are funny creatures, and they do funny things. My initial response to her invention of a nonsense word was not, however, amusement. It was annoyance. I was annoyed at this silly word she’d made up. It seemed stupid and ridiculous. I’m all for my kid doing funny, random, silly things. Earlier this week she went to our closed pantry door and sang, “Elsa? Do you wanna build a snowman?” Now, that is adorable. I’ll share that one all over Facebook. But shouting a made up word at characters in a storybook? That’s just weird.
If I learn anything from watching my little girl, it’s that she is courageous. It takes no small amount of courage to fully live in your own world. But it takes even more courage to let other people into your world without fear of judgment or correction. I love that she hasn’t yet learned to be ashamed or preoccupied with what other people think about her universe. (I do sometimes wish she cared more about what I thought, but I guess you can only have so much.) I am reminded by her casual confidence in her own experience that there is something powerful and freeing to not only embrace the life you live within your truest self, but to let other people see it. Maybe I can learn to live my own life, but I’m not sure that I have the courage to let others see it for fear that they would think the very thing I thought: that’s silly and weird.
Curly Fries does not know that she is silly and weird, and - so far - she doesn’t seem to care. I hope that she can hold on to that for as long as possible. I hope that I can find a little taste of that for myself. May we all rallywave a little more.