November 24, 2006

The perspective of a four-year-old

My cousins came to visit today, among them my little cousin K. Aside from being totally adorable, she's pretty smart and comes up with clever statements often enough that sometimes you forget you're dealing with a four-year-old.

So it was that when she asked for more milk, I went to pour it for her and said, "say when."


And when she said this, my instant first thought was that she was teasing me; I interpreted it as her saying to stop even before I started pouring. Momentarily nonplussed, I paused, processing.

Meanwhile she wasn't understanding why I'm not actually pouring it, and evidently came to the conclusion that I was teasing her, or at least doing one of those obscure "what's the magic word" things that all those crazy adults seem to be obsessed with. Because then, she revised her response:

"Oh. Right now!"

I had just been realising that her "when" response was a "Goodnight, Dick" (or "Goodnight, Gracie") sort of response, and starting to laugh, so when she remisinterpreted the initial line, I just lost it (as did everyone else in the room). Poor K didn't understand why we were all laughing at her, and of course she still wanted her milk, but first I needed to stop laughing so I could explain to her how "say when" works. Then, of course, after I'd explained it, I was pouring the milk really slowly, and kept glancing sidewise at her, which was making everyone else crack up, but finally at about 2/3 full she said, "stop now." And so the episode came to an end.

"The inheritance we've received in our beliefs is like a priceless work of art that draws the masses wherever it appears. But if you throw it at someone or handle it improperly, it breaks." --Rocco Palmo

Posted by blahedo at 9:32pm on 24 Nov 2006
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