Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Business transactions with a toddler

Yesterday one of our refugee students stopped in to fill out some paperwork to renew her eligibility for our English classes. She happened to bring her two small daughters with her. (I would guess that one was close to three years old and the other was close to two.)
When their Mom went to the outer office to fill out the forms, she left the little ones in my office with me. 

Now, I’m not generally known for my ability to connect well with (human) children who don’t come up much above my knees. (Animal children are a whole different story.)  After all, when I used to have to look after friends’ children from time to time, I would read the kids to sleep with the original (10th-century) version of El Canto del mio Cid, in old Spanish. I figured it was the sound of the poetry that would get them to sleep, rather than any possibility of their understanding of the words. At any rate, it usually worked, so I’d do it again, if it ever happened to be necessary. (And if it’s not necessary, that’s quite all right!)

So … I had these two little girls wandering around my office. I never caught the name of the older one, but the mother had called the younger one Barbara. The older one pointed at one of the photos of our cats and the various pictures and figurines in my office. This is what ensued.

Child: Kitty?
Me: Yes, that’s a kitty.
Child: Mine?
Me: No, it’s mine.

[Child points at another picture. NOTE — As the child moves around my office, the littler one — Barbara — tags after her.]

Child: Kitty?
Me: Yes, that’s a kitty.
Child: Mine?
Me: No, it’s mine.

[Child points at a figurine.]

Child: Kitty?
Me: Yes, that’s a kitty.
Child: Mine?
Me: No, it’s mine.

<>
[Child points at another picture.]

Child: Dragon?
Me: Yes, that’s a dragon. Very good!
Child: Mine?
Me: No, it’s mine.

[And back to the kitties some more …]

Then the little girl noticed the calico cat a cousin sent me -- the cat hangs down over a shelf. He sits on my hutch and looks down over my desk.

Child: Kitty?
Me: Yes, that’s a kitty.
Child: Mine?
Me: No, it’s mine.

[And here you could almost see her thinking.]

Child: Kitty mine, Barbara yours?

It was the first time in my life a small child had offered me her toddler sister in exchange for a stuffed cat (and that was clearly what she was doing!). I (barely) managed not to laugh (at the moment — I nearly laughed myself sick later!) and said: “No, Kitty mine, Barbara yours.”
Fortunately, before the girl came up with any more potential business transactions, her mother finished her paperwork and they left my office.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Seen on the road

I saw this sign by the side of the road recently: 

For sale:
Yorkies
Shih-Tzus
Corgies
Live Bait

Somehow, those just don't quite seem to go together. 

Of course, right below it there was another sign advertising "Bulk water for sale." Bulk water??