Yesterday afternoon I dropped the top down on my convertible and shot over the bridge to visit. The moment I entered the house, 3-year-old "Chebs" looked up from her lunch of pasta and peas and said, "Aunt Sue, let's get into the hot tub Right Now!"
Maybe it's the big sister in me I was never able to express, being the youngest, or maybe -- as a former newspaper editor advised -- I apparently default to being "ornery for ornery's sake," but whatever it is, I can't let her have what she wants immediately, regardless of how hedonistic the request. So first I raided the refrigerator and popped a tofu dog into the microwave. Then I pulled on my one-piece.
The hot tub is delightfully deep, situated beneath three mature redwoods. Chebs tore off her clothes, grabbed a floatie ring and kickboard and slid in. With the ring around her middle, she propped her chubby perfect feet up on the kickboard and stretched out her arms.
"See, Aunt Sue," she said proudly, "I can float all by myself."
"No, you can't," said my evil little voice. "You have a floatie ring and a kickboard. That's not all by yourself."
"Yes, it is."
"No, it's not."
"Yes, it is!" she popped up her head to explain: "I'm using my ring and kickboard. That's what 'all by myself' means."
The way she said it somehow made sense. And with that, I sank into the world of 3-year-old logic.
After a few minutes, she held the ring and board in front of her. "Which one do you want?" she asked. Thinking the ring better suited her, I pointed to the board. She ran her little hand lovingly over the board, circling the many colors with a finger and shaking her head. "No, this board has too many colors in it for you to have." I should have known.
Next up was where I should sit. "Don't sit there," she instructed, pointing to the corner from which the bubbles were emanating.
"But I want to," I said, sliding into said spot.
"No!" she said with a laugh, pushing at me. "You don't own this, it's not yours."
Then she got distracted by the rhinestone-studded heart necklace I was wearing. "I want that, put it on me. I'm allowed."
"Nope," I said, swishing away. "It's not yours. You don't own it."
"But I want it."
"Well, we don't always get what we want."
She screwed up her face, brought it close in to mine, and said, "I do."
"You're a smart cookie, but I'm just as smart," I said.
"No, you're not."
"All right, then, what comes after fifteen?"
She paused. "Six?"
"Close, sixteen," I said, proving my superiority, which paled beside the magnificence of being 3, with the whole illogical world ahead of you.