Sunday, January 4, 2015

The game of twenty questions

Driving in the car always seems to stimulate Senia Mae's inquisitive thinking. Even if we are only taking a five minute trip the conversational slew of questions can range from "How many months have Kelly and Steph lived in their house?" to "Why are the green colors on the traffic light round?" There is no telling what kind of question may arise as her little mind explores new concepts.

Today we were meeting our friends Kelly and Stephanie with their daughter, Stella, at the Fajita Grill for dinner. It was a little past dusk and the full moon was hiding behind a layer of clouds the shape of thinly shaved ice, looking seductive and eerie as it cast a whitish pink hue on the dark sky. I had just finished answering a question about why fingernails grow and was thinking about my next response if the next question happened to be an anatomical one. In the backseat I heard a few exasperated sighs then a nervous little voice piped up.

"So what if someone got gum stuck in their eyebrow?" Senia Mae asked theoretically.

"What?" Kim said as she turned around. She couldn't see anything because it was pitch dark in the car. At first the seriousness of the question didn't dawn on either of us. It seemed like another trivia quiz from Spin the Rolodex of Randomness.

"If someone had gum stuck in their eyebrow what would you do?" Senia Mae asked again, her voice squeaking this time. "Would they have to go to the hosibal?" Even though she claimed to want to be a neurosurgeon, Senia Mae was petrified of having to go to any doctor, even the eye doctor. I could hear the panic in her voice as she squirmed in the back seat.

"Well," Kim said, "If someone gets gum stuck in their hair you usually have to cut it out with scissors. Sometimes they will have to walk around with a funny haircut for a while but it does eventually grow back." I could tell she was processing something huge by the sudden silence in the rear. Until then, the reasoning behind all of the questions still had not occurred to us but then suddenly appeared. Senia Mae had gum stuck in her eyebrow.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore," Senia Mae grumbled.

"Why are you asking about all of this?" I said as I burst out laughing. "Do you have gum stuck in your eyebrow?" Just then Kim turned on the light an saw Senia Mae's thumb and forefinger nervously playing with her right eyebrow.
Apparently our hysterical laughter made Senia Mae more upset because she started whimpering in the back seat.

"Will you have to cut my eyebrow off?" she asked.

"Hmmm," I said. "There's probably not enough hair to cut it off. We could shave it off so you'd have only one eyebrow for a while or maybe cover it with some duct tape? Mommy Kim what do you think?" I knew we were taking it a little too far, but it was just so funny. There was a fire truck and ambulance already parked when we pulled into the restaurant.

"Oh, no," Senia Mae whined. "I don't want those firemen pulling the gum out of my eyebrow." I am certain that Kim and I could have been more empathetic if the whole scene was not so hysterical. We had just watched The Christmas Story and Senia Mae thought the firemen were going to treat her eyebrow like they did when Schlick's tongue was stuck to the frozen flagpole. After a moment of having to catch her breath, Kim finally took over the good parent role while trying to stifle the giggles.

"I think we can probably get it out with some peanut butter when we get home. Does that sound better than using the firemen to get it out?" Senia Mae nodded with relief.

"How about..." Senia Mae cut me off mid sentence.

"Mommy, this is too much. I don't want to talk about it anymore," she said as we walked inside the restaurant and met the girls. There were so many more things I wanted to add...we could get the gum out with the toy Pet Palace brush, but I could see that she was really upset and decided to just let it go before the poor kid needed therapy.
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