Deirdre and I have this game we play. It’s basically making small talk with a kid who’s almost 2. It’s called “Are you my little sister?” And Deirdre, being a kid who’s almost 2, says “Nooooooooo.”
“Oh! Well, then, are you my little. . .porcupine?”
“No!” she says cheerfully.
“Then are you my little. . .orangatang?”
“Nooo!” She says, as though I was making a ridiculous statement, throwing back her head and dragging out the word.
“Well, are you my little. . .kangaroo?”
“No,” she says in her squeaky little aren’t-I-cute-when-I-say-no? voice.
“Maybe you’re my little armadillo!”
“NO!” she yells.
“How about my little penguin?”
“No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o–” Deirdre, in case you hadn’t noticed, knows 101 ways to say the word “no”.
“Then are you my flamingo?”
“-o-o! Pang! Pang!” She stops off half way through her “no” and starts talking very earnestly at me, peering up into my face.
“Oh! Are you my little penguin?!”
“Pang!” In that satisfied, contented voice only Deirdre can conjure up.
“Oh, you’re my little penguin! Are you a nice penguin?”
“Nice!” Game over. Now we go back to whatever we were doing before. (You’ll note she never actually said yes, by the way.) Sometimes I guess what she is on the first try. Sometimes it takes forever for me to guess. Yesterday I had almost exhausted my list of exotic animals that I could think of when she decided she was a buffalo. I don’t think she has any idea whatsoever what a buffalo is, but she certainly decided that was what she was. I suppose she just listens to the words till she finds one that she likes. She’s always something different, too. But in reality, we all know what she is. She’s my little nut-case!