This past Sunday was Piper’s birthday and I was invited to go to Disneyland with her, her mother, and her BFF who I’ll call Callie.
How could I say no?
To get the whole extravaganza off on the right foot, Callie the BFF and Tee Tee had to spend the night Saturday night, naturally. I mean, there could be NO delay in hitting the road Sunday morning to get to Disneyland. Which, really, is only about 40 minutes away from my sister’s house. Still, we both needed to be nearby, at hand, on site so we could wake up, wake up, wake up, and hurry, get in the car!
Now this is not news, but I know my sister and I know my niece, so the X factor in this whole equation for me was the BFF Callie whom I had never met.
And I’m telling you — that girl was quirky. Precocious. I totally fell in love with her. She was a tiny blonde blue-eyed sprite who basically, at 8 years old, has decided she knows what’s what in the world. She was sweet as pie and opinionated as an old man. You wanted to smoosh her; you wanted to scold her. She was the yin to Piper’s yang. Or something. Piper is all sweetness and roundness. There are no angles in her personality, at least not yet. This girl was sweetness with an edge. And I wanted to take her home.
~ The minute Callie arrived, Piper swooped her up into her room where they hid out for a long time. When they finally came downstairs, Piper was beaming and pulling on something around her neck. So was Callie for that matter. “Look, Tee Tee! Callie got us matching necklaces.” Both necklaces were horses, but Callie’s said “Best” and Piper’s said “Friends.” And, okay, so I burst into tears from the sweetness.Whatevs. And, okay, the whole day at Disneyland whenever I looked down at their little necklaces, I teared up all over again. Again, please, I reiterate: Whatevs.
~ Then Piper blurted out, “And guess what else, Tee Tee? Callie got us matching robes for our sleepover!” See note related to whatevs above.
~ At dinner, in front of my two nephews and brother-in-law, Callie — who apparently is an only child — offered her opinion of boys. “Boys are lame. You can’t trust them.” She pointed at my nephews in turn. “I don’t trust you and I don’t trust you.” Then she looked at my BIL. “And I don’t even KNOW you.” (I’m sorry. I’m laughing just writing this because she is the CUTEST little thing saying these things.) She turned to me. “I trust you.” She’d known me for half an hour. “And I trust Piper’s mom. And Piper, of course.” Of course.
~ The nephews just laughed and tried to plead their case — they’re 15 and 18 now — but Callie would have none of it.
~ Piper and Callie had a list they kept referring to of “57 Things To Do Saturday Night.”
~ I don’t think they got to them all.
~ Near bedtime, they came down in their matching polka-dotted robes. I made them walk an imaginary catwalk which they both did very well. Really, a bit too well. Quite frankly, I’m still a little disturbed.
~ Then Callie plopped down next to me on the sofa, looked at me for a moment with that frank expression she has, and said, “Can I call you Tee Tee?” Once I’d swallowed the lump in my throat, I said, “Sure you can.”
~ And she did. She called me Tee Tee. Immediately.
“So, Tee Tee, the other day in class, Blueberry Logan burped and it was really gross.”
“Wait. Who’s Blueberry Logan?”
“He’s this boy in our class who’s just a tad annoying. His name is Logan.”
“Well, I didn’t figure his name was Blueberry. Why do you call him that?”
“‘Cause he’s round, like a blueberry.”
“Is he blue?”
“No. Just round.”
“Do you call him this to his face? I mean, does he know he’s Blueberry Logan?”
“Oh, no. I wouldn’t do that!”
“Oh, well, no.”
~ She told me how she picked out the necklaces. “Well, they had ones that were pandas and pandas are my favorite animal, but Piper likes horses, so I wanted to get her what she would like.”
“Oh, that is so sweet!” I said.
She looked at me.
“You’re a little creepy.”
“Well, your voice just went really high when you said that.”
“Hm. I guess it did. So that’s creepy?”
“A little bit.”
“Good to know.”
~ She then spent the remainder of our time together feeling bad, I guess, about calling me creepy because she kept reassuring me — quite randomly and out of the blue — that I was NOT creepy.
In line at the Matterhorn ride:
“Okay. So you are really not creepy.”
“It’s okay, Callie. It was kinda creepy.”
Picking out a stuffed animal at the Disney Emporium:
“Honestly, you’re really not creepy.”
“Callie, seriously, it’s okay.”
Washing her hands in the bathroom and yelling to me while I’m in the stall:
“Tee Tee? You’re not creepy, okay?!”
~ On Saturday afternoon, I had arrived wearing jeans and an Indian-style tunic. Sunday morning, I wore jeans with a bohemian-looking dress over them. Callie sized me up. “I like your top,” she said.
“I liked the one you wore yesterday, too.”
“Thank you again.”
“You have nice tops.”
~ When I was a few minutes late getting out to the car, Callie grilled me. “I thought you knew we were leaving.”
“Well, what were you doing?”
“Standing in the hall doing nothing just to bug you.”
“No, seriously. What were you doing?”
“Well, Callie. I was in the bathroom.”
“I mean, I could give you details.”
She started to laugh.
“No! No no no!!”
~ We were at Disneyland for five seconds — I kid you not — I mean, we had just started walking down Main Street, when Callie said, “Walking is SO exhausting.”
My sister and I shared a glance over her head that said It’s gonna be a lonng day.
~ Callie didn’t want to go on Splash Mountain — she was a little afraid of some of the more roller coaster-y rides — so we sat at a little cafe and chatted while my sister and Piper went on the ride.
“Are you a vegetarian, Tee Tee?”
“Me either. I like meat. I don’t like vegetarians.”
“Yeah. Vegetarians could be, like, dying from a black widow spider bite and they’d still be all ‘Oooh, don’t hurt the black widow. I love the black widows. I want another black widow so I can pet it, ooooh.'”
“You know, you’re kind of like a teenager.”
“Oh? How so?”
“Well, you kind of dress like a teenager.”
I wasn’t sure this was a compliment.
“Look, I’ll have you know, Crackie, I bought this in the grown-ups clothing section.”
“And you kind of talk like a teenager. I like that whole Crackie thing you do.”
“Well, yes, I AM young at heart.”
“Hey, what do you think — is this gross or cool?”
She started pushing a loose tooth out with her tongue until it was nearly parallel to the roof of her mouth.
“Well, you know, it’s cool but also gross, I ain’t gonna lie. And it makes me want to pull your tooth out right now.”
“All right. Let’s talk about Blueberry Logan. Is he nice at all?”
“Well, sometimes, but he’s mostly annoying.”
I smelled a grade school crush.
“Uh-huh. Well, that’s a bummer.”
“Yeah. He likes to burp.”
“This from the girl who pokes her tooth out for me.”
“Okay, so what’s your favorite fruit?”
“Uhm, well, peaches, I guess.”
“Ooh, I LOVE peaches. So that means — if there’s a Blueberry Logan — you could be Peaches Callie?”
“Guess what? I’m half Irish.”
Sometimes she switched streams quickly.
“Oh, so you could be Peaches O’Callie? Or maybe just Peaches. Can I call you Peaches?”
Obviously, I was dying to call her Peaches.
“Hahahahaha. Okay, Tee Tee.”
“Do you like dresses, Tee Tee?”
“Uhm, not much.”
“Do you ever have to wear them, like at church or something?”
“Oh, I don’t go to church.”
“But I have one of those Children’s Bibles — you know those?
“Yeah. I check it out.”
~ Waiting in line for that lame Jungle Cruise, she whispered to me, all subversively, “Tee Tee, do you know about the man with glass balls?”
Eh, there, Peaches?? Was this adorable 8 year old telling me an off-color joke? Frankly, I had to know. I had to pursue it. I mean, she wasn’t MY kid.
She whispered even closer to my ear.
“And I mean the balls he pees with.”
I wanted to tell her that a man peeing with those things would likely be in a 911 situation, but I just let it slide.
“Well, I didn’t think you meant basketballs.”
“No. See, he fell down a mountain.”
“Uh-huh. Guess which mountain.”
“I literally have no idea.”
“Well, Mt. Everest.”
“Wow. Really? That’s a long fall — like 26,000 feet.”
“Yeah, I know. He fell for a whole DAY.”
“And he was still alive at the bottom?”
“Yep. But he needed glass balls.”
She was not joking. She was, in a deadly serious way, simply imparting the facts about the dude who ended up with glass balls. I found myself thinking about how loud glass balls would be, clacking around in one’s pants, but I decided to keep this thought to myself. She was eight and knew too much already. I really hoped she hadn’t told Piper about the dude with glass balls. I didn’t want her to be scared. Or curious. About anything. EVER.
~ At lunch while she ate some chicken nuggets:
“Ooh, do you know I like broccoli with cheese?”
“I didn’t know that. I love broccoli, with or without cheese. How do you feel about green beans?”
“I love green beans.”
“So if you ever come to my house with Piper, we’ll have broccoli and cheese and green beans. How’s that sound?”
“And we’ll do fun stuff like, oh, re-grout the bathroom tile –”
“I don’t even know what that is.”
“Well, see, you don’t know the fun you’re missing — and wax the cars and organize our DVDs alphabetically.”
“That does not sound fun.”
“But there will be green beans.”
~ At one point during the day, Callie told my sister, “I think Piper is the sweetest kindest person I’ve ever known.” Sob. She’s right, you know.
~ On the way home from Disneyland, we saw a restaurant called Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. This generated a brief discussion between my sister and me about Forest Gump. Callie chimed in.
“Forest Gump? I do NOT like that movie.”
I feel ya, dawg.
“It is totally inappropriate,” she said.
I asked her what was inappropriate about it and turns out, it was all those flashbacks. Did you know that? S’true. The flashbacks are what is wrong with Forest Gump. I’m glad I had this precious child come along to point that out for me. Finally.
~ Back at my sister’s house, as she packed her overnight things and prepared to go home, she said to me, “I had a really fun time with you, Tee Tee.”
“I did too, Callie.”
I really did.
What an adorable little kook.