October 24th, 2005



I think I just shocked my daughter out of a year's growth. We were getting them ready for bed, and she held her hands up in front of her with her fingers steepled in a praying position and bade me do the same. I dutifully held up my hands and copied her.

"Has your mother ever stolen anything?" she asked.

"No," I answered.

"Okay, now fold down your little fingers," she commanded.

I did.

"Has your father ever stolen anything?" she asked next.

"Um...not that I know of," I answered.

She squinched up her eyes and pursed her lips and said, "Okay, we'll make that a 'no," she decided. "Fold down your ring fingers."

I did, wondering where this was going.

"Have you ever stolen anything?" she asked.

I hesitated. "Yes," I said.

Her eyes flew open and her mouth mirrored them. "Mama!" A pause, while she tried unsuccessfully to take this obviously earth-shaking news in. I stifled a laugh and tried to look solemn. "You did? You STOLE something?!"

I nodded. She looked sternly at me, hands still in half-praying position. "What did you steal?"

"You know the bench in our bedroom?" She nodded. "I stole that," I said. Again with the rounded mouth and the shocked look. "You STOLE that bench?! from a park??"

I nodded again.

"Why did you steal it?" she demanded. "I was young and stupid," I said remorsefully to her disapproving face. "I never did it again."

Another pause while this was digested, then the game recalled itself to her mind.

"Okay, well, anyway, fold down your big fingers."

I did. Then in a rush, she said, "Now what do you have in your hands?...A gun! BANG!" and she pointed her cocked pointer fingers at me and pulled the trigger while I tried vainly to bring my own weapon to bear.


Little does she know: I stole two of them at the same time.