There’s nothing like the sound of your kid’s voice.. especially when they’re little. I can’t replicate the hilarious tone that comes with Clare’s “Yep!” a response I’ve heard a lot lately, despite her runny nose and cough. I wish I took more videos of them and I wish I went looking for videos of Sophia from that age. I wish I could capture all of it and store it in a box for lonely nostalgic days that will surely find me.
Sophia’s voice doesn’t hold the same fleeting happiness and innocence now that Clare’s voice has. It has something else, though. More often now it takes on this incredible variety of characters that live inside her. It seems that she’s sorting through them, trying them on for size and occasion to see what works and what does not.
The other day we went shoe shopping for her. At our Shoe Carnival they have a kid’s ride-on train engine kids can play in – like one at the mall that eats money and makes noise (a detail my children have so far been sheltered from). The girls loved playing on it and while doing so, Sophia took on a deep masculine voice of an engineer.. “Ohhhkaaaay! If you want a ride, come stand over here!” her voice sang deeply. In character – and happy – she tried on shoes and cooperated. It seems like when she takes on these other characters, she stays joyful and comfortable.
Frequently, in the middle of conversations, she slips into mommy-adult voice. I’ll be talking about something to do with Clare – whether her cough warrants a visit to the doctor, or her new, funny, random desire to use the poddy – and Sophia chimes in “Well, with Kit, she decided she wanted to use the poddy when she was like around Clare’s age…” and she goes on to explain what Mommy-Sophia did about such and such problem. “The sisters” (a regular in the narrative of this imaginary world) “made such a mess last night downstairs,” she explains laughing. “You just wouldn’t believe it,” she trails off with a laughing sigh.
As she sorts through these characters and perspectives, I listen with interest. Who will she find, in being? Will we help her uncover the self-confidence she needs to be the Sophie she really is? Is it up to us?
In part, I know the answers to these questions. Mostly, I wonder what this new year will bring for her, today is her birthday. I can’t imagine the changes we will see this year, and the new characters she will try out. In the midst of the regular whining and jumping to conclusions, there are already thoughtful questions about God and heaven and relationships and music. Not to mention the clever creativity and sharp observations. As much as I want to resist my baby turning 5, I’m looking forward to meeting the voices that come with a 5 year old Sophie.