In a park on Bainbridge Island my niece, Masha, freed herself from her stroller and trailed along behind her mother and me.
Natasha and I crossed a little bridge and looked back at her. She was tearing a leaf apart and pushing the leaf flesh through the little gaps in the bridge floor. When she was finished, she stood up with the leaf stem held out in front of her, and said something in Russian.
Natasha laughed and translated for me, “She says, ‘Now it’s a stick!'”
On the ferry ride back to Seattle, after calling out in English some of the letters from the brand name printed on the stroller, Masha made a declaration in Russian.
Natasha translated again, “She’s been saying that she’s a cat lately.”
I asked her, “What’s ‘cat’ in Russian?”
So I started babbling back to Masha, “Masha Koshka. Are you a Koshka, Masha?”
She answered; and Natasha translated, snickering, “‘Yes. A cat, with stripes.'”