Millie stared longingly at the candy and snacks surrounding us as we moved toward finding a checkout lane at the grocery store.
"Me good girl. Me treat?" she asked.
I shook my head, "Not today," and settled into place at the end of a not-too-terribly-long line in some random lane.
Millie wandered a few feet forward to "just look" at the candy varieties, wishing and hoping.
She asked several -- many -- random questions about the things that caught her eye.
She asked a few -- lots -- of questions about "what's next," what we will do when we got home.
Will we make Jello? Will we eat lunch? What is for lunch? Will she have to eat her whole sandwich? Will she be able to have fruit snacks? If she eats her whole sandwich, could she earn a pack of fruit snacks? Can she watch iPad today? Can she watch TV? If she watches TV, can she watch Shimmer and Shine? But is it a new Shimmer and Shine? How come there's no new Shimmer and Shine? How come she couldn't get a new Shimmer and Shine book today? Can she get a new book tomorrow? Hey, will we read books before bed tonight? Two books? Three books? But it's not bedtime yet, right? How long is it until bedtime? What will do in the morning? What will we eat for breakfast in the morning?
You get the gist: Lots of questions. Lots and lots and lots of random stream-of-thought questions.
Finally, as the man in front of us wrapped up his turn, at the last moment he added a two-pack of ring pops to his purchase ... and turned around to give them to Millie.
"You've been such a good girl," he said, kindly, telling us that he was impressed by how nicely she waited our turn.
He was an older man, wearing a ballcap. Millie (and I) didn't know who he was, but she gladly took the unexpected treat and, with a little prompting, she thanked him.
Then, we chatted a few minutes. He works with kids; he's been a longtime bus driver, and this week, as school wraps, he'll have a bag of apples to give the kids as an end-of-the-year bonus.
I told him I had originally gone to college to be a teacher but very quickly learned I didn't have enough patience to deal with so many kids so long each day. We laughed about that, about patience as a virtue.
Millie, of course, asked his name.
(Anyone who has spent any time with Millie these days can count on two things: She will ask you your name and, then, follow that up with a barrage of questions about whether you really, truly know each of her grandparents, her teachers, her friends, etc.)
His name was Butch.
I asked her to say his name, to work on the pronunciation of it. She refused. I moved on.
We talked a little bit more with him, with Millie promising to save the other ring pop for Lola, as an after-school surprise for her older sister. But we, eventually, parted ways as he moved on with his day.
A few minutes after he'd gone, Millie asked me what our car's name is.
Um, we've never named it?
We should name it, she said.
OK, what name do you think it should have?
I don't know, she said.
"Well, is it a girl car or a boy car?" I asked, still loading bagged groceries into the cart.
"OK, well, what's a good name for a girl and a boy?"
She thought really hard.
I loaded more bagged groceries.
"Butch!" she finally said, stating it clearly and excitedly.
I laughed. "You sure?"
And then asked the checkout lady her name.
Later, as we walked to the car from the store, Millie skipped forward, "Hi Butch!" she shouted at the car.
She climbed in. I opened her ring pop.
I unloaded groceries and we began driving toward home.
With her sucking on her ring pop, I turned the music slightly up, appreciating the few moments free from backseat chitter-chatter.
But then, after a few minutes, she said, very randomly, "Beautiful."
"What is beautiful?" I started looking outside, at the overcast and cool day, wondering if she saw a new flower or noticed a cute dog.
"Butch beautiful," she said.
"The car?" It needs, badly, to be washed and vacuumed; it can't be that beautiful.
"Not car," she shrieked, laughing.
"The car isn't beautiful?"
"No, Butch. The man. Him beautiful."
"Yeah? You think so? What made him beautiful?"
"I dunno," she murmured, less speaking and more grunting.
But then, after a pause, she answered, "Nice. Him nice. Him heart beautiful."