The Herald Bulletin

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July 20, 2013

Theresa Timmons: A ride to daycare with Dora the Explorer

A 4-year-old has the unique ability to draw you into a conversation that seems perfectly normal at the beginning, but quickly degenerates into an "Alice in Wonderland" dialogue that resembles part fantasy, part reality.

My grandson, Cayden, is a master. When he is in the mood to chat, I find myself trapped by my own driving curiosity — after all, what is he gonna say next and what words will he slaughter? But it's a trap.

This usually happens on the drive to daycare. He is sitting in his car seat, so besides dramatic gestures, his mouth is about the only thing he can move. Last week the conversation went something like this.

It began with "Mamaw?" While it sounded innocent enough in his little munchkin voice, it's really his bait voice.

"What honey?" I answered attentively, like a good grandma. I am actually an idiot.

"I thirsty. Can I have juice?" He asked this question when we were exactly halfway to daycare, driving through acres of dry Indiana cornfields.

"I don't have any juice in this car. You can have water at school. And come to think of it, we are out of juice at home. But I'll put it on my shopping list," I assured him.

"Mamaw."

What honey?"

"What is a shopping wist?" He is still hit and miss on his R's and L's.

I thought for a minute. "Well, .a shopping list is a piece of paper where I write down all the things I want to remember to buy at the grocery store."

He paused to digest my definition of shopping list. "Mamaw?"

"What honey?"

"Dowa the Expworer has a shopping wist."

This is the part where I get sucked into the world of Looney Toons, SpongeBob, and Bernstein Bears. But I have to ask the question because of my own obsessive curiosity.

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