The Pipsqueak seems to have a bottomless well of Cute from which she can draw bucketfuls of the stuff in a variety of scents, colors, and flavors.
Lately, one of her favorite flavors seems to involve waitressing. It started a couple of months back, after watching all her grownups try to decide what order to call in to the local Chinese carry-out. Our usual dietarily indecisive selves, we pored over the carry-out menu for long minutes, discussing the relative merits of lo mein vs. an extra shrimp dish, individual dishes or all-in-one dinner platters, and wonton vs. egg drop vs. hot & sour soups... all under the watchful eye of the Pipsqueak. We eventually made our decisions and called in the order, whereupon my niece picked up the menu and began going from person to person pointing to it while asking, "what do you want?" She would mime writing something down on an imaginary notepad (who knew she'd been watching restaurant waitresses so carefully?!?), run into the next room to perpare our chosen item, then proudly march back in bearing invisible plates heaped high with equally imaginary delicious food.
Since then, she's slipped into "waitress mode" numerous times, greatly enjoying the act of recording our orders (from "menus" that can be anything from actual carry-out menus to the empty palm of her hand), then running to prepare our food and serving it with aplomb. Her mommy had a play kitchen set when she was little, but it never got the same intense, repeated use that the Pipsqueak's kitchens get. (Yes, that's plural; she has one play kitchen in Grandma & Grandpa's family room -- a generous gift from family friends -- and that proved so popular that her big Hanukkah gift was an even more involved kitchen set that occupies part of the breakfast nook in her own home's real-life kitchen.)
Of course, this being the Pipsqueak, now that she's got the act down pat she's giving it her own personal spin. She still presents us with a menu (or sometimes just tells us what's available for that meal) and asks, "What do you want?" The difference is that now she will often reply, "No, you can't have that!" and then tells us what we can order, take it or leave it. (Dude, you're letting an underage midget push you around again...!) Thus we often share exchanges like the following:
P: "Hello!" (holds out hand) "What do you want?"
Me: "Hello! Let me see..." (point at the menu) I would like this, please."
P: "You want the pizza?"
Me: "Yes, please, I'd like the pizza."
P: "No, you can't have that."
Me: "I can't have that? But I want the pizza! Why can't I have the pizza?"
P: "You can't have that."
Me: "Okay, so what can I have?"
P: "You can have this!"
Me: "What's this?"
P: "This is [fill in whatever she thinks of at the moment]"
Me: "Oh, okay, I'll have that. Are you sure I can't have the pizza?"
P: "No! You can't have that! You can have this!" (runs off to get "this")
I'm somewhat relieved to know that as the Pipsqueak grows up she can always earn money waitressing...
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!