By the time she was 2 that oversight had been corrected. At a supermarket she asked, “Daddy, may I have a cherry popsicle, please?”
A harried looking shopper observed, gobsmacked, “That toddler just used a complete sentence!”
“Of course,” I said, “she knows a proper sentence needs a subject, object, and a verb.”
Then Mandy asked the lady if she would like a hug. Because, you see, my daughter wasn’t just smart, she was also deeply perceptive.
So it came as no surprise that one day, at age 5, while she was dancing along with TV philosopher Barney the Dinosaur, she had a profound epiphany. She’d been singing an insipid self-esteem ditty with him that went,
“I’m special! You’re special! Everybody’s special!”
when she suddenly stopped mid-kick-ball-change and asked, “Daddy?”
“If everybody’s special, doesn’t that mean ‘special’ is just ordinary?”
She still loved the gentle purple dunder-lizard but always questioned his wisdom after that. (Personally, I suspect it takes more than a little fermented grape juice to remain that color day after day.)
“No, there’s someone inside.”
The gig was up. She’d figured out that, lacking any real depth as a sage, Barney had plummeted in the ratings and been forced to moonlight as a pizza-pushing rat.
That was when I knew my own days as a mentor were numbered.