The other night, we were all piled up in the big bed together, the three of us, and Bella had control of the laptop, working on a computer jigsaw puzzle. There are not enough hours in the day for this child to work puzzles. So she's got a particularly difficult piece, looking for its home, and I ask, by way of encouragement,
"Where in the world does that piece go? Can you find where it belongs?"
To which my THREE-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD replies, in a sassy, smartypants, singsong voice,
as she drops the piece in place and locks it in with a flourished click of the touchpad mouse.
Stunned, and laughing, I look at Alex, who is also laughing, and ask her,
" 'Uh-HUH, Baby?' Where in the world did you get THAT?"
And without hesitating or turning around, this PRESCHOOLER retorts (are you ready?),
"At the 'Uh-HUH, Baby' store!" *
and continues putting her puzzle together. You know, after the "Guess I told YOU" head-snap.
So then? Today? We're driving home from making a ninjapoodle handoff (more on that later), having dropped our latest sucker--er, Respected Member of the Impulse Poodles Family--off at the airport for her return trip, with dog, to Chicago. Alex and I are both tired and a little grumpy.
Me: "We're about to run out of gas. You need to stop and fill up."
Alex: "Well, I want to pick up some food, because I don't feel like cooking and I KNOW you don't." (Can you feel the guilt-waves from where you are?)
Me: "That has nothing to do with the fact that we're about to run out of gas RIGHT NOW. Get gas first."
Extremely Loud Isabella-Voice, from backseat: "TOYS!"
So while we're gassing up (AFTER having gotten food, just so you know who the REAL hard-head in this marriage is), we are idly people-watching while the gas-tank sucks up its two-hundred-and-eighty-four-dollars' worth of fuel. The assortment of hairstyles and wardrobe on parade on this occasion are truly eclectic and awe-inspiring. On a Tuesday evening. At an Exxon station on a country highway. In rural Arkansas. When the temperature is 102 degrees (having cooled off from 106, you know).
A well-used, dusty black sedan pulls up in front of us, and a woman of indeterminate age gets out of the car, a little bit at a time. High-heeled, platform sandals first, followed by legs encased in black, patterned, thigh-high, self-gartered stockings, easily identifiable as such due to the hipbone-high slit in the side of her short black skirt, which, like the rest of her outfit, doesn't seem to fit very well or make her feel particularly comfortable. Black blouse, teased and bleached-blonde hair, and an oddly dissonant pale pink pleather clutch-purse follow. While I'm waiting for her to get all the way inside so that I can turn to Alex and hear his speculations as to what sort of Tuesday-night event this gal might be attending, an ear-piercing shriek comes from the backseat--OUR backseat:
"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!"
She's really funny, this kid. Until she gets us killed by a pimp.
* Best guess on this is that she is channelling my father, whose favorite response to any "Where did you get ________?" question was this one:
"At the gettin' place."