"Sometimes adults think they can bribe us with sweets," said the 10-year-old as she devoured a cup of cookies and cream ice cream.
Not that I was trying to bribe her. If I wanted to bribe her, I'd bribe her with the promise of playing a board game.
"Oh," I said, "I guess I'll bribe you with green beans then."
"That would never work," she said.
"I was joking," I said. She can be serious, this girl. And she seriously doesn't care for vegetables. But I'm not pushing it. Tonight's dinner was fish, baked potatoes, bok choy, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe. The girl found out she likes baked potatoes. She was so exited she called her mom. Adorable, right? Then the girl and the 90-year-old debated which was better, sweet potatoes or regular potatoes. They didn't agree.
Last night over dinner, the girl told us that she'd heard being an adult sucked. "Not at all," I said. The 90-year-old agreed.
"You get to be your own boss," my mom told her. And somehow that segued into how she and her twin sister went off to live on their own in Baltimore when they were only 17. Which segued into how they eventually rented a very stylish apartment from a retiring prostitute they knew. Only she couldn't think of the word. "Sex. Girl. Worker," she said.
"Prostitute," I said. The girl took this all in and then we circled back to growing up and going to college and working. Welcome to my dinner table where we have multi-generational discussions about potatoes and prostitutes.
And speaking of circling, I told the girl I liked the circles she'd made with all the toy animals. It's called "The Night of the Dances" she said, and informed me that the humans are dancing too. They are.
My mom gasped with delight when she saw the toys when I first set them out for the girl. When all of the kids are here, they play in the "family room"/garage so my mother doesn't get to see what's going on out there--and I guess she doesn't remember the toys from when my own girls played with them. Her delight breaks my heart a little. It makes me think of one of the patients in the nursing home where my aunt resided her last couple of years. This lady often carried a baby doll, cradling it as if it was real. My mom stands over the box of figures and furnishings that haven't been incorporated into the girl's scenes, handling them, whispering to herself.
I think this little scene might be her creation.