"Yeah, baby," I replied absently as I stretched to place a mug on the top shelf.
"'Cuz if we did, we could go back to see that animal I was afraid of," she went on.
I paused, holding a plate in mid air. What on earth could she be talking about? "Oh, do you mean dinosaurs?" I asked finally, reasoning that she must be wishing she could meet a pterodactyl.
"No! I mean that animal Savannah had yesterday. Remember, I didn't hold it because I was afraid it would bite me."
"Ah, you mean Oscar the ferret!" We'd seen Savannah's new ferret, which Allyson called a garret, the night before at my sister Emily's house. It was surprisingly cute for a rodent, but I kept my distance too because I remembered being bit (hard enough to bleed) by a ferret in science class when I was about 12.
|My Niece Savannah With Oscar|
|Allyson With the Closest Thing She'll Ever Have to a Ferret|
"So you want to go back in time to YESTERDAY?" I asked, unable to control my snickering.
"Well, yeah. Then I could hold Oscar."
I started to tell her I wished I could go back two hours in time and rethink trying to force her to have a nap [so that at least I could have had a nap while she played], but I bit my tongue. It's bad enough to lose a power struggle with a four-year-old without reminding her of her victory afterward.
I thought about the whole time travel thing for quite awhile, and I decided I like Allyson's thinking. You see, if I could turn back time, I'd surely go back and undo all my regrets, which would of course make me into a completely different person. But Allyson doesn't have any regrets--aside from passing up the opportunity to hold a ferret. In fact, she doesn't even keep a catalog of past mistakes.
When I recounted the story to Bill at bedtime last night, he didn't see the philosophical side, just offered some practical advice. "You should have pulled a hat over her eyes and told her you were putting her in a time machine, then driven back over to Emily's," he said.
Now why didn't I think of that?