A new Jo

It happened. Sooner than I thought.

Josephine did not mention monkeys once today.

Not in passing, not in their games, she didn't pick a monkey toy to play with. I don't think monkeys crossed her mind. Only those who know her well will understand how big this is. I noticed about a month ago that she was branching out, and since then I've been paying attention to see if and when it came to an end. Today was the first day monkeys did not figure in.

I have a theory that monkeys were Jo's mechanism for understanding the world. If she was put in a stressful situation, she retreated to her monkey-filled imagination. When she was overwhelmed by the choices of play at nursery, a toy store, or a friend's house, she could organize her options by eliminating all but the monkeys. Same thing with books at the library. It was the way she would interact with others: conversations based on monkeys.

But I think now, at nearly 4, she has enough vocabulary and intellectual grasp of the world and her place in it that she doesn't need that security. She doesn't need the 'monkey framework.' As a parent, it is interesting to see the new ways she is defining herself, and what sparks her imagination. She has gone after anatomy with the same interest as monkeys, but it doesn't play nearly the role that monkeys did.

It's like meeting a new Jo.

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