Conversations With My 2-Year-Old Neighbor

Sometimes my 2-year-old neighbor decides to pop over for a visit. She’s in that wonderful stage where she asks questions about everything…usually more than many times.

Our conversations usually start with my bed. I live in a one-room apartment and my bed takes up more space than any other thing I own. It also has a mosquito net, thanks to Peace Corps’ effort to limit my chance of getting dengue.

Here’s one particularly memorable visit, boiled down:

“Is this your bed?” the little girl asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Do you sleep here?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. She then asked about the mosquito net, which we’d talked about close to 10 times before, and I answered.

“Do you sleep here alone?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, starting to smile because I know what the next question will be.

“Why?” the little girl asked.

I don’t really answer. She asked about where my father and mother are…Where do they live? Why aren’t they here?

We then move on to the things on my table. She asked about a chap stick, the pens, some jars. After I explain each thing she exclaimed, “How pretty!”

On that visit I was in the middle of making lunch, which was salad and beet juice. I already knew from previous conversations that she doesn’t like veggies and most fruit. I knew she wouldn’t want my food, so I didn’t offer to share. I pulled out my dejected blender. My blender is held together by duck tape because there are huge cracks in the plastic. Surprisingly (wink), despite my half-hearted washing of the blender after every use, the base is grubby. It takes a special trick to make the top click into the base. I like to think it only works for people who love it.

“My mother has a blender like that,” my little neighbor said.

“Really? That’s great,” I said. I started to make juice.

“How pretty!” she said about the blender.

I look at her with fake surprise. I glance at the blender. “It’s a little ugly, isn’t it?” I asked.

A smirk like those kids wear after doing something they were told not to do in front of the person who told them not to spread across my neighbor’s face. Her little baby cheeks bulged and her eyes sparkled. “Yes,” she said and giggled.

The conversation ended there; she started repeating questions and then her mother called her for lunch. Now, every time I use or look at my blender I see her little smirk and it makes me smile. I learned that even an old, rundown kitchen appliance can add a little happiness to life if you let it.

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