So after the enormous success of my post Don't Look at Me!, I have decided to continue the "Saga of a Two Year Old: As Told by an Uncle". This little gem has been an endless source of amusement each time I visit my brother, his wife, and my niece.
First of all, my brother has this completely justified fear that his daughter will end up meeting somebody just like him, back when he was in college, when she gets older. This fear has forced my brother to strike preemptively into the love life of his two year old. He believes that big disasters are best intercepted well before they become problems. In this spirit he has been conditioning the little lady into accepting certain bits of life wisdom to be universal truths above question. A conversation with her is often times scripted and can sound like this:
"What is your favorite football team?" Anyone can ask this.
"The Gators", she says with a smile that shows her tiny white baby teeth. She smiles not because she loves the Gators but because she knows she got the answer right.
"Can you count for me?" Anyone might say.
After a moment of shyness, out comes the toothy answer, "1...2...3". Again, there is the victory clap and a smile.
These conversations happen a thousand times in an hour sitting. It happens with things such as "What's your Uncle's name?", or "What's your favorite toy?", or "Do you like cookies?” Each one is greeted with a certain degree of shared celebration as she proves time and again that she is above the average conversation that surrounds her.
And she plays along. She’s a good sport. Except for this one thing.
My brother has told her in unequivocal terms, "Don't you dare kiss boys!" He looks at all of the two year old boys in her group of friends as a potential predator.
On this point she is steadfast in telling Daddy, "No!" She apparently means to kiss whoever she wants.
So Uncle Nick asks, "Who are you kissing?" I glance at my brother, a smile grabbing a hold of the edges of my lips.
And she rattles off a couple names, "Ronnie, and um Ryder".
"Who is Ryder?"
I stifle a laugh, but my eyes almost have tears in them as I notice my brother shifting his weight. He has seen this conversation before and never likes it. "So you are kissing Ronnie and his brother?"
"Yes", she almost yells it and gives me the smile that knows I got the right answer. I smile back for a few different reasons.
My brother can't take it anymore. "You better not be kissing any boys. Don't you dare kiss boys!"
Her eyes go wide and her mouth shapes a perfect 'O' as she sucks in the air of what passes for a two-year-olds disbelief. "No, I kiss Ronnie. Ronnie Dad. Ronnie!" She is deaf to my brother's protests and I laugh.
She catches me laughing and smiles back, showing those teeth that show she knows she got the answer right yet again. It is always the right answer when my lawyer brother is at a loss for words and taking the brunt of a verbal onslaught from a two year old. All the degrees in the world can't help him win this battle and he knows it. Infinitely amused, I take my leave and remind myself to ask the same question the next time we hang out.