Monday, March 16, 2009

Following In My Footsteps

I wrote recently about the first time Erika cried at the end of a book, and how much more moved I was by that moment than I've been at more traditional milestones, like rolling over, or eating cereal for the first time, or cutting a tooth.

Here's another date for the record books: Saturday, March 7, 2009.

I was talking to Erika, who was playing outside. "Why are you so dressed up?" she wanted to know.

We had spent most of the day apart. In the morning, Keri and I took her kids and Aaron and Gretchen to the baby naming of a friend of ours, while Hilary and Erika went to their swimming lessons and Jonah attended his drama class. Afterwards, I had taken Hilary out for McDonald's and a manicure, to celebrate her recent good behavior in kindergarten.

"Aunt Keri and I went to Gavi's baby naming this morning," I said.

"Oh," Erika said. "I thought it was for your - " here, she hooked the index and middle fingers of her right hand through the air - "special outing with Hilary."

I stared at her, dumbfounded. "Did you just air-quote me?" I asked.

She giggled. "I call them bunny ears," she said.

I think of Erika as sweet and silly, not sarcastic. But it was good to see a bit of dry humor bubbling under the surface. I, for one, am a huge fan of air quotes.

So, I set her straight: "For your information, they're called air quotes, and to do them properly, you should use both hands." I proceeded to demonstrate.

She listened attentively to my instructions, then ran off to play with Declan. I smiled after her, thinking, it's so cute. At least, it will be until she does it about me.

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