My best friend (of all time – including potential future or past (assuming I get a time machine) best friends) is coming to visit.
We told Madeline this yesterday, and she had an interesting reaction.
“Uncle Kenny is going to come to our house and sleep over a few nights, Madeline!”
Her face lit up. Wow, I thought, I guess Kenny must have made an impression on Madeline during the hour we spent with him in New Orleans half a year ago. Three year olds are world renowned for their incredible powers of memory (specifically, promises of cookies and toys that were broken and quietly discarded), so this didn’t shock me. Plus, Kenny is a fun guy, who is wonderful with children. And he was wearing a hat that day, so that stuck with Madeline for a few months. (“When we see that guy with the hat again?” was a common question. We’re working on the name retention aspect of making friends and influencing people. Madeline still refers to one of her best friend’s moms, who we see about once a week, as “her”.)
“Hooray!” Madeline exclaimed, without irony or eye-rolling or derisive snorts (I put those qualifiers there so that when I look back at this post, when she’s a teenager, I will remember there were times when she was a ball of pure, innocent joy that I didn’t want to strangle with her headphone wires).
And then the questions started.
“Where will he sleep? In my bed?”
…territorial? Maybe. But she said it like it was an option that was encouraging, rather than disheartening. Madeline is MUCH too young to be inviting boys into her bed.
“Or on the floor?”
Maybe Madeline’s forgotten about the guest bedroom. Where all the guests have slept. For all of her life.
“No, Madeline, he’ll sleep in the guest room.”
“Oh. On the bed?”
“…yes?” The questions are definitely on a strange track. But who can fathom the mind of a three year old?
“Can we feed him?”
Perhaps Madeline DOES have intentions towards Kenny! After all, the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (it also eliminates the possibility of being turned aside by the rib cage).
“Yes, we’ll feed him, Madeline.”
“What will we feed him, chicken?”
My wife and I exchange a glance. Chicken dinner? That would be nice and fancy. But we were actually thinking of the trump card of all three year old’s dinner fantasies. “We thought we would feed him pizza.”
“He can eat PIZZA?!”
Ah, Liz and I thought, Madeline is super excited about pizza. Problem solved. The conversation started down another track entirely, and the matter of Uncle Kenny arriving was tabled for the night.
About one day later, Madeline started pitching a fit when she realized that Uncle Kenny was a person, and not Penny, my brother-in-law’s new puppy.
I am heartened that Madeline is not inviting strange men into her bed, but I wonder about what she is feeding our dogs when my back is turned.