We had a fantastic dinner tonight with the Beloveds from two doors down. The children had all been playing together all day, popping back and forth between the two houses while the adults worked on various projects. Then, around 5, we gathered at our house for a cookout and fire in the fire pit.
The children were filling their plates, and Jenny was asking Zoe if she wanted some of the roasted potatoes with green beans and butter.
As Jenny had her hand on the spoon for the potatoes, she got distracted by another child, and even though Zoe had said, “I don’t want that.” Jenny hadn’t heard her.
Jenny asked again, “Zoe, do you want potatoes?”
Zoe said, “I said I didn’t want that.”
Jenny said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
Zoe said, again, only louder, “I said I didn’t want that.”
Jenny said, more slowly and clearly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
Zoe said, again, louder, “I DON’T WANT THAT!”
At this point, all the adults were looking at Zoe because she adores Jenny and has never spoken to her in an unkind or snotty way. In truth, only her brother and sister ever get the harsh side of her tongue. I intervened.
“Zoe,” I said, rather sharply, “Ms. Jenny was just trying to help you. She was telling you she hadn’t heard you.”
And Zoe, who hadn’t looked angry or upset during the entire exchange, looked at me in a completely blank way and said, “I was trying to talk louder so she could hear me.”
We adults burst into laughter as we realized what had happened to poor Zoe. She must have thought Ms. Jenny was either crazy or going deaf because she hadn’t been able to hear Zoe despite Zoe continuing to repeat herself more and more loudly.
I was very glad I hadn’t tried to do something completely asinine like send Zoe to her room. It was so obvious to all of us that this was totally out of character for Zoe’s actions toward Ms. Jenny, but we hadn’t realized how Zoe was seeing the conversation.
And, of course, it brought back fond memories for Buds and me to the “Why are you calling me ‘Oven’?” story.
Other than this verbal misstep, a grand time was had by all. These balmy days of early Spring are so precious, as are our friends.