Mia's sitting on the bathroom counter, trying to decide between the fruity bubblegum toothpaste, and the minty toothpaste. Her legs are folded under her, and the toothbrush dangles in her hand as if waiting to be magnetically drawn to a tube of paste. In a flash of inspiration, she chooses: BOTH toothpastes. I hold out the Colgate and squeeze a dab onto her purple and yellow-striped brush. She wiggles and giggles at her unbelievable luck in convincing me to double up on flavors, and holds her brush steady for the sparkly pink gel to be applied next. Raising the toothbrush to her mouth, her eyes go nearly crossed trying to follow its path, and her eyebrows raise in excitement. TWO toothpastes, on the same brush: brilliant.
Justin is eyeing the leftover birthday cake with something close to disgust. He overindulged at the party yesterday, and hasn't felt so hot all day long because of it. He's irritable, bored, tired: not his usual, cheerful, after-work self. Knowing he consumed too much over-processed, sugary, fattening food the day before, he guesses his off-kilter feelings are due to the negative food effects. Listing his transgressions, he tells me, "I had at least 3 cookies, 2 pieces of cake, ice cream, and I don't even know how many slices of pizza. Not good. I'm not having any more. I feel too yuck."
Mia is terribly concerned for him. "You feel yucky? Why, daddy?"
He explains how too much junk food is bad for your body and even bad for your mood. "Just like in your Yummy/Yucky book, Mia. It says 'Ice cream is yummy. Too MUCH ice cream is YUCKY.' That's how I feel right now. I had too many treats, and now I feel yucky."
Mia understands. In fact, she looks slightly superior in her understanding. "Well," she scolds, "I don't feel yucky after my treats. Because I used two toothpastes to brush the yucky away. You should've did that, dad." She nods once, her knowledgeable gaze teaching us lessons we're just too daft to grasp.
But I don't care.
Because I'm about to go scrub them clean with double-flavored toothpaste. Half little girl, half grown up: a true description of both the toothpastes on my brush, and me.
If growing up means I have to limit my choice of toothpastes, or my sneaky ice cream bites, then I shall remain half-girl from here on out.