Being Humbled

Last night I had the pleasure of babysitting my niece, the world-famous Valencia Placencia. We had a blast. She’s four years old and an amazingly well-behaved kid. Or at least she was last night. Before my brother left for his football game he got down on one knee and looked Valencia in the eye and said “You listen to Uncle Eddie and do what he says, OK?”* I was glad Ray gave her that instruction as I intended to make her vacuum out my car and fix me waffles.

I had just come from work and was still speckled with paint but our adventures began nonetheless. We ran down to the outskirts of Ft Wayne to go to the paint store and pick up some wallpaper. Whilst there we looked at a wallpaper book featuring Disney characters. From there we zipped back down to Auburn so I could swing by the house and get a change of clothes and then stop by the bank so I could get some money for the night’s festivities. We saw my Aunt Mary, who works at the bank, and Valencia became a little shy as she talked to her on the bank’s drive-thru intercom.

We then went back to V’s home so she could get in a nap and I could get cleaned up while she snoozed. We got home about 4:30 and Ray had instructed me not to let her sleep past 5:30. V woke up a little after 5 and we were soon on our way to the mall in Ft Wayne.

We went in the entrance near the Red Robin restuarant and they had a costumed character of, well, a red robin hanging around inside so we went in so V could shake his hand. We then made our way into the main mall, where V advised me not to walk on the diamond-shaped pieces of tile on the floor. Just because.

We stopped at a bookstore so she could look at the Clifford books that were on display and then made our way to the Disney store where I was informed what Santa needed to get her and also what I needed to get her.

The next stop was Toys R Us and while there the store clerk told me how well-behaved V was. Since Ray and Piper weren’t there to accept the compliment I took it for them. A Spongebob Squarepants costumed character showed up after a bit and I felt bad for the person inside the costume. V was the only kid in the store and she was more preoccupied with the Mr Microphone and the battery-operated stuffed pig that walks around on its own. I cheered for V to myself.

After 20 minutes we moved on to the huge two-story carousel in the mall where V was happy to ride the giraffe, even though it didn’t go up and down. The carousel is in the middle of the food court and the Chick-Fil-A cow character was walking around. It was definitely the Night Of The Living Costume Characters.

Our next stop was Claire’s, where I let V buy anything of her choosing. She opted for a keyring that had a little plastic bird on it. And when you squeezed the bird, sticky brown poop came out (although we aren’t allowed to say “poop.” You call them “stinkies’).

Next up was The Princess Store which we kind of sped through. It was pink and fluffy and a little too gay for me.

As we left the mall we stopped in to grab a bite to eat at the Red Robin. The Bird Guy was gone but V at least got a balloon. We bundled back up and raced out to the car and from there we went to V’s favorite store: Wal-Mart.

We looked at all the toys and walked through the Halloween aisle where she nervously laughed at all of the motion-activated talking skulls. As we left the aisle she confessed she was a little scared in the Halloween aisle. I told her it was just plastic with batteries that was acting silly and she agreed that the plastic was indeed silly.

We got her home at 9:00 on the dot. As we pulled in to her house she said, “I had fun today, Eddie” and it gave me the proverbial warm fuzzy feeling.

“I did too, V,” I told her and then followed up with, “What was your favorite thing you did?”

She thought about it for no more than 2 seconds and said simply, “My nap.”

Stinkies.

*(Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, back home in Indiana I am known as “Eddie.” So shut up.)

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