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Deciphering the good guys, the bad guys and the color of God

Two common themes thread through conversations with my daughter: Bad guys and God. She generally saves these dialogue sparkers until I'm trapped with her in a stall in a crowded public restroom; picture long lines of agitated females pressing on their pelvises and hopping from foot to foot, while my daughter casually broaches deep seated, childhood concerns.

The typical tete-a-tete starts off with her climbing onto the throne and commanding, "Mama, ask me some rhyming words."

"Why don't we wait until you're finished," I encourage, hoping to expedite her activities.

Alluding to another thing she saves for public bathrooms, however, she answers, "I think this might take awhile."

Always the good jester, I devotedly entertain as she does her duty. "What rhymes with ball?"

"Wall," she correctly answers.

"Good. A rhyme for sod," I continue, not thinking.

"God . . . When was God a baby?".

"When he was Jesus." I throw out another word. "Goat."

Ignoring my prompt and off on a tangent, she wrinkles her nose and says, "No, Mama, God."

"I don't think He was a baby in the way you're thinking."

She sighs, exasperatedly. "Mama, everyone has to be a baby."

I assure her it's different with God, which leads her down another lane in her brain. "You mean God is all purple and everywhere?"

Now, I know I heard my own echo off of the tiled walls, and it never said anything about color theory. But I turn with her at that 90 degree angle, saying, "Why purple?"

The princess asks, "You mean he's blue?"

I start to wonder if Clorox and ammonia fumes have affected our faculties. "Not necessarily," I respond.

She interprets this as, "Oh, he's light blue and all in the sky." She adds a sweeping hand gesture over her head, loses her balance, and nearly falls in the bowl.

"No, honey," I respond, catching her arm, "I just wanted to know why you picked purple."

"Because I like it."

Wishing to bring the exchange to an end, I confirm, "Okay, good enough."

My tyke won't let it drop so easily. "But what color is he really, Mama?"

To my short lived relief, all in the same breath she turns the subject 180 degrees. "There can be girl bad guys too, can't there?"

Twenty minutes into our visit to the latrine, the toilet rim making a lifelong impression on my daughter's hindquarters, I give in to exhaustion and consider this other line of thinking. "I guess so."

"Because there should be," she asserts. "There are more girls in the world than boys. And a lot of boys turn into bad guys. Then they try to train the girls to be bad guys, but I'm not going to listen. I want to be like you."

She has now sat long enough for the germs to know her by name.

Regardless, I swell with pride. My child desires to emulate me.

She goes on with her expert monologue. "You're not a girl bad guy," she says, hesitatingly, uncertainty staining her words, "are you?"

Naturally, I deflate at this need for reassurance.

I slump down onto my heels, hoping for liberation, and checking to see if I could possibly escape under the door undetected.

Finally slipping off the toilet and preparing to leave the loo, she wriggles her dress down, but her mouth never stops moving. "Why doesn't it hurt the birds' bottoms when they sit on their eggs?"

I shake my head wearily.

A lady in waiting urgently yells, "The same reason it doesn't hurt your highness when you preside from the potty."

Web posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006

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