10 January 2009

The Christmas Chimera

One of the things I love most about interacting with Trinhity is how the stories we read and the things we do become commingled. In the process, she creates new storylines with twists that are stunningly imaginative, always logical (though often with entirely reasonable progressions that I'd never have figured myself), and frequently unexpected.

Most of this comes with a smattering of Vietnamese if she's talking to me; the smattering is of English if she's talking with the Mama-san. I like to think of her creations as a rich tapestry of oral folklore that -- and this is no small thing -- are almost completely novel and unique. Given how much has been said and written by humanity over the eons, I consider it a profound privilege to witness such creativity firsthand.

Tonight I actually caught some of this on video. Earlier the Mama-san had folded and stapled scratch paper into a book format, and Trinh promptly drew a story. She 'read' it for the camera tonight.

May we present to you an entirely new story featuring members of our family, several mythological personages, and a bunny: The Christmas Chimera.

A few words of explanation. Tài Tài is, of course, Taison...Trinh's little brother. You've probably heard of Santa Claus and Rudolph, but do note that Rudolph's famous red nose appears clearly in her drawing.

She also refers to the "Chimera". She's talking about the fearsome monster of Greek mythology that features the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a snake for a tail. This creature, rather improbably, turns into a bunny on her last page.

Apologies for fumbling the camera on the zoom into the bunny, but I thought it really rocked and wanted a close-up. That last Chimera-cum-bunny bit she stole from a sweet book we've been reading, The Dog Prince, but the carrots were her own touch. Her first (off-camera) telling of this story brought in Sinbad, since his ship (at least in the animated movie) is called Chimera.

See, she's got all the pieces: Homer, Sinbad, Aladdin, the 1001 Nights, Scheherazade (she can actually say it, terribly cute), even Rimsky-Korsakov. She just doesn't know it yet. Perhaps someday she will. But really, does she even need to?

I mean, sure, someday maybe she'll be able to read Borges and actually understand it, perhaps while listening to Piazzolla with a well-worn copy of Orthodoxy on the shelf and a whiff of Narnia in the air. Maybe not. It took me literally decades to grasp (in my own plodding way) just a few of the connections between those points of light. That she can tie together some of these threads at age three is wonderful, but that's not what gets me.

No, what gets me is the how she's able to whip what she absorbs into innovative new forms. I can't do that; not like she does. I'm not sure I ever could.

Anybody who dismisses 'kid stuff' as "unimportant" low quality drivel didn't really listen. For my part, the child astounds me, fascinates me.

I am proud. I am humbled. I love being Daddy-oi.


Janine Evans said...

dude, I could hardly read your post fast enough so that I could then watch the video.
She's amazing.
Excellent work on all fronts. You guys rock.

G'day Y'all.. said...

A favorite quote I got out of teacher's college...“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Keep up the good work Daddy-oi. :)

mina's mommy said...

She is wonderful! Bummed we couldn't see her while down there. Next time.