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True Daughter Stories
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ONE

She is very sleepy. I have read her bedtime story and she is already halfway gone. I am tidying up things in her room before I turn off the light. Something on the carpet catches my eye. It is a pair of tiny keys, the sort that come with miniature locks on luggage zippers. I pick them up and show them to her.

"What do you think these go to?" I wonder.

"I don't know," she murmurs.

"It can't be your piggy bank." I scratch my head.

She stirs. "Perhaps they're magical," she speculates.

"That's interesting," I say. "What might a magical key unlock?"

"The future," she replies without hesitation. Then she rolls over and falls into a deep sleep.

This is my daughter.

TWO

We are eating at a restaurant. She has chicken strips and is diving into them with gusto.

"Want a bite of my steak?" I ask.

"Oh no!" she says around bites of chicken. "I can't eat a cow."

"Why not?" I ask.

"Because," she says promptly, "cows are cute. They are very nice." She reflects for perhaps half a second.

"Also," she adds, "you can dress a cow up in fun clothes."

"Perhaps you could dress a chicken up," I suggest.

"Not at all," she replies matter-of-factly, emphasizing her points by waving a chicken strip in the air. "A chicken is not at all cute. It has a very sharp beak and will peck you. Clothes will not fit on a chicken. Chickens are not nice and are good to eat."

She masticates her chicken like a beast. "Not cows, though," she concludes, putting the matter to rest.

And that's that.

THREE

"I would like a hot dog please," she asks, very politely. We are grilling in the back yard. Unfortunately things are going rather slowly and the hot dogs are not even on the grille. I tell her this.

"Perhaps we should do a dance for hot dogs," Bonnie suggests.

"Oh yes," my daughter agrees, as if this makes perfect sense. "How do you do a hot dog dance?"

"How about this," says Bonnie, and begins a wiggly kind of shuffle.

"I wanna HOT DOG...I wanna HOT DOG...." Bonnie chants. The daughter immediately gets the sense of this dance and starts in as well.

"I wanna HOT DOG...I wanna HOT DOG...." the girls croon. Bonnie changes things up and starts shaking her booty around; my daughter mimicks her.

"WE WANNA HOT DOG! WE WANNA HOT DOG!" The younger one is now driving the bus, half giggling and half shouting, shaking her tiny butt and jumping around.

My son covers his face with his hands. "This is just wrong," he groans.

The ladies start bumping butts. "HOT DOG! we wanna HOT DOG!" they yell, completely oblivious to the neighbors over the back fence, or anybody or anything except their silly dance and chant.

The boy approaches me. "Could you please just put the hot dogs on so they'll stop?" he asks.

I do it, but they don't stop. They keep hot dog dancing all night.