You’ve got a friend. No. Not me.

We were putting Z to bed, and PL was reading to her the Ugly Duckling. And at around the part where the other ducklings were calling him ugly, and not wanting to be his friend, Z asked, “why the duckling have tears?’

“Because he is sad.”

“Why he sad?”

“Because the other ducklings don’t want to be his friend.”

“Why they don’t want to be his friend?”

Z is at the stage where she asks a lot of “why” questions.

“Because they think he’s ugly.”

“Why?”

“Because he looks different. He’s not yellow.”

“I’ll be his friend,” she declares.

“Are you also my friend?” I asked.

“No!”

No hesitation. I must be even uglier than an ugly duckling.

“What about mommy?” asked PL.

“No!”

I pretended to cry.

“See daddy’s crying because you don’t want to be his friend.”

The hard-hearted little girl is not moved.

“Will you be my friend? I asked PL.

“Okay,” she said readily.

We held hands.

Z would have none of that.

“No!” she says.

She’s saying “No” a lot too. Terrible twos and all that.

She breaks our hand hold, and tells PL, “I’ll protect you.”

From me?

I wonder where she learns all this.

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