The Daughter Chronicles

Friday, October 13, 2006

Showdown in the Barnes & Noble!

The other day I was trying to figure out what to do with Demon Child #2, because Mia was at school and Norah was tired and whiny. So I took her to the mall, more specifically, the bookstore, and I figured I would just let her wander. She enjoys wandering, and I think our house gets a little boring for her. Luckily, the weather is changing, so soon I won't have to take her to the mall to let her wander, because she can do it outside! But that's a story for another day.

So I put her down and just followed her around. She walked this way and that, checking things out, making sure she touched every little thing (because that means it's HERS!) and just having a grand old time. Then the girl appeared.

The girl was in a stroller with her mother, but I heard her say something about wanting to get out. She was older than Norah, about Mia's age, I would say, although I am very bad at judging ages. So she got out of her stroller and wandered around. It was not long before she spotted Norah.

Both children stopped about three feet apart. The girl was holding a doll, and proffered it to Norah, but withdrew it quickly before the gift could be accepted. Then the stare-down began. Both girls simply stood there, staring, for what seemed like days. An epic battle of concentration! Neither willing to admit defeat! The loser sure to spend a lifetime wandering through the desert with nothing but the bitter, bitter taste of defeat to sustain her! Oh, poems will be written about the showdown!

Okay, it probably only lasted a minute, if that. I'm not sure who broke off first, but both did. Then the girl took a few steps toward Norah! A breach in protocol! Norah retreated, knowing that when young girls approach you, nothing good can come of it. She was still calm, but she knew that she could not get into this girl's "grabbing zone."¹ As she backed away, the girl's mother chuckled. I said that Norah has a big sister, so she shouldn't be scared, but the girl's mother said she was smart for backing off. Was the girl, like Damian, a manifestation of EVIL? We'll never know. The girl lost interest and took off after her mother. Norah pawed a few items and then followed me.

I just mention this incident because it reminds me that kids are endlessly fascinating. They don't have our experience, so everything - even showdowns with strange kids - is new. Norah is fun to watch when she's out and about, like I'm sure every kid is. She wanders haphazardly, reaching out for everything, and staring at every person who walks by. Wow, the world is a big place!

I still maintain she won the stare-down. Alas, we may never know!

ยน The grabbing zone is the term I coined years ago when I would get goofy and affectionate with my lovely bride, and now has expanded to the children as well. I'm sure you can figure out its meaning. The children, of course, love to get into our grabbing zones, because that means we will grab them and hug them!


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