I recently took my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Kate, to Trader Joe’s. She likes coming along on shopping trips because she really enjoys looking at people. But she especially likes going to Trader Joe’s because the cashiers give out stickers to kids.
Most little kids like stickers. Kate loves stickers. It’s almost an unhealthy obsession. The only thing she likes even more than stickers is balloons. One time, my wife bought her a sheet of stickers that were all balloons and Kate’s head almost exploded.
Along with giving out stickers, Trader Joe’s also has this game they do for little kids. Every day, they hide this stuffed donkey toy somewhere in the store. If a kid spots the donkey, they tell the cashier where it is. Then they get a piece of candy.
As we got in the car, I said to Kate: “Remember the game at the store? When you look for the toy donkey?”
She replied with an emphatic “Yes!”
Fifteen minutes later, we’re in the store walking around. At one point, I looked down at Kate in the cart and noticed that her head was moving slooooowly from left to right. The look on her face was deadly serious.
“What’re you doing?” I said.
“Looking for the donkey,” she said, in almost a whisper. Then she continued to scan the store, like a robot.
I had forgotten about the donkey game.
“Okay, good job,” I said. “Keep looking.”
About ten minutes later, I was grabbing gallon of milk and almost dropped it when Kate yelled “THERE IT IS!”
She found the donkey – but I couldn’t see it.
She said, “There!”
“In the refrigerator?”
“No, no! Up THERE!”
The donkey was perched about four feet above the milk section, on a little ledge.
“Good job,” I said.
The entire time Kate was looking for the donkey---a good 20 minutes---she had the demeanor of a Secret Service agent, searching for a lone gunman in a crowd. (I know you’re here, donkey…you can run, but you can’t hide.)
I’m pretty sure that if I had played this game at her age, I would’ve had the laser-like focus Kate had…..for about a minute. (Look for the donkey…look for the donkey…look for the—oooh, ice cream!)
Right after Kate found the donkey, she was beaming. I looked down at her and thought: You got this skill from your mother. Both Kate and my wife are highly observant people. Me, not so much. I can’t count how many times my wife and I have had a conversation like this:
Me: “I really like this new lamp.”
Her: “I bought it six months ago.”
As I was driving home from the store, I was thinking about how much Kate is like her mom. Then suddenly I heard Kate’s voice from the back seat.
I turned down the radio.
“Poo poo!” she said, followed by a huge belly laugh—which totally cracked me up.
I guess the kid is a little like me too.