I remind her that we already do some of these things together. And, wanting her to expand her horizons on what we as best friends might do, I suggest "going to the movies together." She wrinkles her nose, considering this with some confusion.
Another recent development is that Brigid understands that people become something when they grow up. Given that Brigid was born in Hong Kong, has lived in China most of her life but refuses to speak Chinese, and likes to dance around the house singing "Viva Colonia," what might be her most obvious vocation? Of course, she wants to be a Spanish teacher. I credit Dora, a show that has been more successful in getting Brigid to speak voluntarily in another language (though Spanish) than her actual life (where Chinese might be a little more helpful).
Then yesterday, at the end of our first visit to the very popular Beijing playroom Fundazzle (a place I admit I have been avoiding for four years), Brigid excitedly told me what her latest plans were.
"Oh," I said. "That means you’ll be living in Beijing when that happens."
"That’s right. I am going to be a Chinese mommy."
Near us when we had this conversations was a Chinese woman who clearly understood and spoke English. She giggled at my foreign child expressing a desire to be a Chinese mother.
She told Brigid, "In that case you will have to learn how to be a good Chinese 媳妇(xífù). You know, daughter-in-law."
I laughed myself, considering how Brigid’s American upbringing might clash with her imagined Chinese future. I turned to the woman and said something along the lines of Brigid not knowing about the expectations of a Chinese 婆婆(pópo), or mother-in-law. Some Western women who marry into Chinese families have a lot of difficulty navigating those seas. I suspect I’m not raising Brigid in a way that would make her any more successful.
(Related: The 婆婆 isn’t the only one who benefits from her child’s marriage. The wife’s family in Chinacan still demand a "bride price" for her.)