Life with a three-year-old girl

(At the dinner table tonight, after taking about 0.34 bites of splendid navy bean soup.)

"I'm full, Mama. I'm all full of food. Look." She turns to me and I expect her to show me her rounded adorable belly. Instead she lifts her little bird arms in a parody of showing off her muscles.

"What?" I ask.

"I'm strong," she says, completely exasperated, because that's what food does, it makes you instantly strong.

Then, later, when she has finally convinced me that she is completely full, she needs no more food, not another morsel, I let her get down from the table. Kid A asks me if he can have some more scrumptious Renee-made garlic bread. I say yes, and cut off YaYa's question.

"You can't have any more bread because you are full." She starts to make those terrible sawing noises, the ones that sound like forests crying because they are being destroyed, the ones that make you shiver in your soul.

"Uh, uh, uh," I say, finger wagging and all. "You know the rules. If you're too full for soup, you're too full for more bread."

She rolls her big eyes up at me and lifts one eyebrow in that way she has. "My belly is saying that it needs bread."

It is very cool, you know, that she understands Belly. Not many people do.

Later, when we're sitting around playing UNO, and Renee and I are killing ourselves laughing over YaYa's speed of dealing cards, (think of the length of time it takes to make a trail of pine needles end to end down the Pacific Crest, and then multiply that by a thousand) she asks me for some water. I have been popping up and down to get these children things throughout the whole game, and now I ask for just one moment, JUST ONE MOMENT, so that I can sit and play cards.

"At the end of the game I'll get you some water," I say. "Unless you want to get some for yourself right now."

Her head droops. It seems that she may pass out. Her eyelids are at half mast, fluttering and threatening to close all the way. For good. Her bottom lip is sticking out.

"I'm getting very sleepy," she says, not using her saw voice, but her sad, sad, voice, "and I need water because I don't have any allergies." I'm drawing a blank. Finally understanding wins out and I say, "You don't have any energy?"

"Yes, I don't have any energy," she says, before hopping off her chair and doing a 50 metre dash with a jump rope.