Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sophie's Birthday Outing: Part One

My lovely niece, the awesome Sophie

On Saturday Bun, Kris, and I took Sophie on an all-day outing to celebrate her 10th birthday. It was the most beautiful day, a warm, sparkly little sneak preview of spring. I felt so happy that morning, so excited—because a whole day of fun was ahead of us. We wouldn’t have to do anything hard the whole day. All we had to do was shop and play around and laugh and eat treats!

Kris met Bun and me at the door with a friendly heads-up: “Um, I just thought I’d warn you: Sophie’s being really obnoxious today.”

Sophie came rushing up behind her. She looked so cute. She was wearing a headband and plenty of blush and her favorite camouflage pants (which Kris hates) and her new enormous white Nikes.

“Oh, gosh,” I said, admiring Sophie’s headband and pretty rosy cheeks (and ignoring her pants and shoes). “You look like Snow White today.”

“Shet up,” Sophie said, like some sort of little cartoon gangster. (She’s always working on her impressions and other comedic skills.)

“See?” Kris said, rolling her eyes. “What did I tell you? Obnoxious.”

Sophie was so excited about her big day; that’s why she was being obnoxious. She pulled us all upstairs to see the birthday presents she’d gotten from her friends at her party last Saturday. There were gift cards galore and cute stickers and crafts and stationery. And a glamorous Monster High doll named Frankie.

Sophie is so funny because she’s really, really tidy about her person (she washes her hands at least 20 times a day), but she keeps her room ridiculously, hilariously messy. And she doesn’t want anybody cleaning it; she likes it that way. Anyway, while Sophie was merrily making fun of Bunny for being short (“Oh, Bunny! I found the perfect T-shirt for you. It says, ‘I’m not short; I’m fun size.’”), I was surreptitiously tidying the top of Sophie's dresser. I always do this when I come over; I can't help it. And of course, Sophie caught me and said in her Looney Tunes gangster voice, “Hey, what’s the big idea?” And I jumped a mile.

Bun and I stowed our jackets in my junky car before we got into Kris’s car to go to lunch. Sophie poked her head in too.

“Leslie,” she said, in her sunny way, “no offense, but your car stinks.”

“None taken,” I said. “But I might mention that your room is a pigpen--in a completely unrelated comment, of course.”

Sophie got to choose where we went to lunch. She chose the Atlanta Bread Company, her very favorite restaurant.

We stood in line, waiting to order, surveying a case of tempting desserts. “Mommy, can I get a muffin top?” Sophie asked sweetly.

Kris said “yes” and Sophie said, “You guys can share it with me.” She really was being sweet, even though she might be compelled occasionally to tell us to "shet up" or "quit yappin'."

We chose a table, and while Bunny was in the bathroom, Sophie started going through Bunny's purse (a typical Bunny-style hemp hippie bag). “Look,” Sophie said, smiling, teasing, her eyes dancing with devilish merriment. “I found an orange in Bunny’s purse.” And she held out the orange for all to see.

It’s obvious that Sophie finds Bunny to be a hilarious character. She thought the orange in Bunny’s purse was so funny because of course Bunny had an orange in her purse. Bunny is the most wholesome little hippie.

When Bunny returned from the bathroom, Sophie got the orange out again. “Bunny,” she said, grinning, her eyes dancing, “you have an orange in your purse.”

Bunny turned so red. She started giggling. “I always have an orange in my purse,” she confessed.

“It’s a nice one,” I said admiringly. “I often have fruit in my purse, too, but it’s generally rotten.” (I’m messy and gross, and I tend to forget things in my purse.)

The service at Atlanta Bread was quite bad, and Sophie was being so funny, pretending to be all up in arms about it. She kept waiting and waiting for her baked potato soup. “Where is it?” she said, making the most hilarious “annoyed" face (it involved buck teeth and flared nostrils). “I already finished my freaking muffin top.” She’s so dramatic. Always aiming to entertain.

While we waited for our food, Sophie kept us laughing with an impressive array of riddles and knock-knock jokes.

Here are a couple of them:

What do you do when you see a spaceman?

Park in it, man.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Rita who?

Read a book on your own time and let me in.

It turns out Sophie got a lot of her material from American Girl magazine.

After lunch we went on to Learning Express, Sophie’s favorite toy store, and Sophie was acting so dumb. As Bunny and I tried in vain to interest her in fancy, wonderfully useless Hello Kitty items, she was riding around the store on this little “PlasmaCar,” a tiny plastic vehicle intended for toddlers and preschoolers.

Kris was muttering to me, “She’s going to be so embarrassed if one of her friends comes in here and she’s riding around on that tiny car.” And she kept trying to scare Sophie with false friend sightings. She’d say, “Oh, Sophie, look. There’s Griffin.” Or: “Oh, Sophie, look. Ella’s here.” But Sophie remained unfazed. This is probably my favorite of Sophie’s many great qualities: She is totally confident.

Bunny and I kept trying to interest Sophie in Hello Kitty rings and necklaces and banks and dolls and alarm clocks. And Sophie kept riding around under foot on that little PlasmaCar. She was backing up, executing three-point turns and other tricky maneuvers in the narrow aisles. . . . It was so ridiculous. I kept snorting and giggling in my nerdy way.

Bunny found this great whoopee cushion shaped like a fuzzy pink pig, and we started taking turns sitting on it (Sophie was sitting on it while driving the PlasmaCar). It made the most obscene noises, and Bunny was laughing and laughing, which was awesome. I always love it when Bunny acts silly—because then I know we’re really having fun. (She has a very hard job and usually maintains a very serious demeanor. It’s so great when, occasionally, she cuts loose.)

“I bet Jake would love this whoopee cushion,” Bun said.

(Jake is our little nephew, age seven.)

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “He loves poo and fart jokes. A whoopee cushion would be right up his alley.” I held the fuzzy pig in my lap. “But I kind of feel sorry for the pig, don’t you?” I said. “It seems kind of mean to be sitting on him and laughing when he farts.”

Of course, Bunny felt sorry for the pig too.

We kept finding the perfect gifts for Jake, but we couldn’t interest Sophie in anything. And the whole point of the day was to shop for Sophie. So Bunny and I started teasing Sophie; we pretended we were giving up on her and shopping for Jake instead.

“Look,” I said to Bun. “Here’s a tattoo kit for Jake. You can color in your own fake tattoos. Wouldn’t he love that?”

“Oh, yeah,” Bun said.

“So we could get him that . . . and the whoopee cushion,” I said.

“For what?” Sophie asked. “For his birthday?”

“Or maybe your birthday,” Bunny laughed.

Sophie didn’t like that idea at all. She drove the PlasmaCar into Bunny's leg.

. . . And I'll tell you more tomorrow about our big day. . . .

Sophie and Kris


  1. What a wonderful day we had. Sophie cried that night because the day was over. I felt like crying too.

  2. I know! It really was the best day. Sophie was being extra awesome.