By the time Lucia was two years old, she had given up on naps altogether. I, however, still needed them. Sometimes I get a chance to lie on the couch for a little while to stave off the fatigue and crankiness. Usually, Lucia does not want me to sleep. Once, I asked her why she didn’t want me to sleep, and she said, “I get scared.” I can understand that—if I’m the only adult in the house and I’m sleeping, she feels alone. As a result, when I lie down on the couch, I’ll ask her to come over and be cozy with me for a few minutes, so that she doesn’t think I’m trying to trick her into taking a nap (though if she fell asleep, it would be a whole lot easier).
Two days ago, I was so tired, and I lay down on the couch with Lucia next to me. Bede and I had just talked with her recently about not staring directly at the sun, and that may be why I told her about the Greek god Helios, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. She wanted to know more about the Greek gods, so carefully, I chose some stories that I remembered and thought would be age-appropriate. Lucia was quite interested in Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who carried an owl on her shoulder. I told her about the contest between Athena and Poseidon, the god of the sea: both desired to be patron of a lovely city and decided that whoever gave the better gift would get that city. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, and a stream burbled up. However, the stream was salt-water, and the people of the city didn’t think it was useful. Athena then brought an olive tree to the city, which was the first olive tree the people had ever seen. The people could then make olive-oil. Athena won the patronage of the city, and it was named Athens.
Later, we looked through D’Aulaires' book of Greek Myths together. I chose to read to her parts of a story about the early life of the trickster god Hermes, and how he made the first lyre strings out of the guts of some of the cattle he stole from Apollo, god of light and music. However, what caught Lucia’s attention was the story of Pandora. She found the page of all the evils of the world let loose out of the box and asked for the story:
After Prometheus stole fire from the gods, Zeus (ruler of the gods) wanted to punish humankind, so he had Hephaestus, the god of craft-smiths and fire, create a woman full of great curiosity. Zeus gave her a box with all of the ills of the world, and told her not to open it. Of course, Pandora opened the box (that is the human condition), and everything escaped—everything except hope, which Pandora was able to keep inside the box.(A later version of the myth of Pandora indicates that the box was actually filled with blessings, and that when they escaped, only hope remained. The Wikipedia entry for Pandora has some interesting viewpoints on the myth.)
Lucia has been playing Pandora ever since. We found a yellow box that she carries around and refuses to open until everyone in the room agrees that the game is over and the box is just a box. She draws pictures of Athena with her owl and shepherds holding apples (i.e. Paris dealing with the apple of discord, which is another blog-post altogether). This morning, I found her yellow play-silk stuffed into a Playmobil carriage to represent the sun-chariot of Helios. There are many elements of the Greek myths for which she’s not yet ready, but I know she’s excited about discovering a whole new collection of stories.