The Family had some conspicuous consumption to do this weekend (as discussed here), so we headed to the nearby outlet mall (and Costco, but that isn’t nearly as exciting).

As we were heading out of town, The Kidling asked where we were going. “The outlet mall,” we replied. But that wasn’t helpful.

She wanted names.

“Whartonville,” we told her, as we pulled into the parking lot. She said — No, she insisted — she had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. And she was adamant:

“I have not been here at all. Under any circumstances. At all.
(one minute elapses)
I remember I’ve been in this place, but I do not remember Whartonville.
(30 seconds elapse)
I do not remember this place at all. I can’t remember Whartonville.
(3 seconds elapse)
Now I remember it.”

Yeah, I bet you do. Stinker.

d*mn you, Target.

A thick, glossy, full-color Target book of want and need and angst for things previously unknown toy ad arrived at our home several weeks ago. I tried without success to keep it from The Kidling, but she spotted it and asked if she could “keep it for a while.” Sounds innocuous, right? Well, “keep it for a while” is kidling for “if you ever even consider recycling this, then I will throw a fit the size of which you and your small mama mind cannot fathom. You think I’m bluffing? Try me. I dare you.”

Or something like that.

I tempted fate and tried to sneak the Target ad out of Alice’s closet this weekend in order to show that evil genius of a marketing material its appropriate end. Apparently, I began fantasizing too soon about blowing my nose on the tissue I hoped that ad would become, because I was busted. Alice caught a glimpse of the ad before it hit the recycling bin and asked, slightly hysterically, whether she could look at it. As if I could say no.

I set about whatever kitchen task I was tending to at the moment while The Kidling flipped pages and told me about everything. It wasn’t long before she started asking for things. Alice isn’t a kid who feels entitled to a lot (except The Dada’s and The Mama’s undivided attention. Every waking moment. Seriously. Every one of them), so it always surprises me a little when she gets going on her “can I have this” episodes. This time of year, I have a ready response.

Alice: Mom, can I have this?

The Mama: We can put it on your list for Santa.

(five seconds pass)

Alice: Can I have this?

The Mama: No. If you’d like, we can put it on your list.

(twenty seconds pass. repeat from beginning)

Alice: Can I have this?

The Mama: Do you even know what it is?

Alice: No.

The Mama: (laughs) What is it?

Alice: I don’t know. I just want it.

The Dada: (whispers to The Mama) She is an American.

Alice: (didn’t hear The Dada. continues) And this whole-page thing. (turns page. waves hand, indicating everything on the two-page spread) And these. (turns page) And these. And— 

You can probably guess what happened next. I don’t fancy myself such a brilliant story-teller that you need me to finish it for you. Besides, I need to go super size something.