Last Tuesday I picked up Hanley and decided to do something different. Instead of taking her home or going to the playground, we went to Agora for coffee. I ordered a mocha for myself and a double espresso for Hanley. Just kidding. She got an orange juice and a banana. We found a table upstairs and Hanley asked me a million questions. Actually, she pretty much only asks one question, which is, “What’s that?” But she asked it a bunch of times while pointing at different people and things. Her teachers have told me that they’re astonished by her vocabulary and are often surprised at the words and phrases that randomly fall out of Hanley’s mouth. I’m just glad she doesn’t say, “Holy crap!” in front of them, or worse, because I constantly slip and accidently swear in front of her. Bad manny!
She stayed in her seat, ate her banana, was relatively quiet, and drank her entire container of juice. I was impressed by her behavior. Unfortunately, she pooped and I didn’t have a diaper bag. On her way out, she ran up to a cute guy. I feared for his laptop, but he smiled at her, which made him even more attractive, until Hanley suddenly went, “ROAR!” at him, like a stinky werewolf child about to maul his ankles, and the cute guy visibly recoiled. “Sorry,” I said, and guided her away.
The next day when I picked her up from school, she climbed into her car seat–Oh, yeah. She can now climb into the car, traverse the void from the front seat arm rests to the back seat, and get into her car seat all by herself. She can’t quite manage the straps yet, but I’m sure she’ll figure them out any day now. So I turned around to strap her in to her seat and she said, “I want coffee!” I said, “Ask me nicely.” She said, “Um. Um. May I please have coffee, please!” Sometimes she slips a redundant please in there, but I’m told that level of politeness is unheard of for a two year old, so who the hell cares? Back to Agora we went.
I ordered the same thing for us, we sat at our same table upstairs, and she was on her best behavior once again. I was reading news stories on my iPad, so she climbed into my lap to look at the pictures and point and scroll when instructed. (She’s quite adept with electronics, which is why she’s the boss lady. I imagine she’ll lead a hostile takeover of the Sheinhardt Wig Company by the time she’s 3.) After a while she got bored and said, “I want to get down.” “If you get down from my lap,” I said, “you have to sit in your chair.” Silence as she processed that statement. “Which is it going to be Hanley, my lap or your chair?” “Um. Um. Um. Um.” A brilliant negotiator, she was hedging and hoping I’d forget the terms. Crafty. “Chair or lap, Hanley? Or, we can leave.” “Hanley sit in chair.” “Good choice!” She finished her banana, pretended to give her stuffed rabbit, Dash, some juice, and then we left.
Next, we visited the Menil Collection. We had recently visited a month ago, so there were only a few new paintings here and there to see. In the Surrealism exhibit there were a rash of Picasso paintings that I’d never seen before. I thought they were great, but Hanley glanced at them and said, “Meh!” Clearly, she was unimpressed. Nothing grabbed her attention, so we walked across the street to the Menil’s Cy Twombly Gallery. Inside, Hanley perked up and pointed to a Twombly painting and asked, “What’s that?” “A painting.” “Painting,” she repeated. “You’re probably better equipped to explain it to me, since Twombly’s work is rather childlike,” I said. “Womly,” she tried. “Twombly,” I corrected. “Twomly.” “Close. Twombly.” “Twombly.” “Yes.” We walked through the exhibit and she was silent, taking it all in, until she announced, “I want to color.”