My little partner Azul and I recently went to a casual happy hour ping pong tournament to do some much-needed visiting and mingling with other adults. And yes, of course I took him, I take him everywhere with me, plus he really is a good little date and is now six years old. On the way home I said, “Thanks for being my date this evening.”
He replied in his high-pitched little kid voice, “You need to pay me.”
I said, “What? I need to pay you for taking you out? I’ll pay you with love and caring and tenderness.”
“I’d rather have a hundred dollars,” he announced.
“Yeah?” I said giggling and scrunching up my face in the rearview mirror so he could see my displeasure with his reaction.
Azul decided to change his tune and said, “Okay, I’ll take the love, and what else?”
“Caring and tenderness,” I answered in the sweetest mommy tone I could muster up.
All of a sudden he shuddered in his booster chair in the back and grabbed on to his seat belt as if it was the only thing he could find that would save him. “Ahhhhhh! No!” he said through his teeth and smiled fearfully.
“Why not?” I asked in confusion, while I turned around to look at my cowering child.
Still holding on to the “belt of life” (a.k.a. seat belt), he asked, “Doesn’t that mean to eat someone?”
“No, Babies” (I call him that sometimes), “not to tenderize in order to eat you. To be tender, which is to be soft and gentle.” And I touched his knee that was closest to the driver’s seat.
He relaxed, laughed and agreed, “Okay, love, caring and tenderness.”