About two months ago I took Kaitlyn to dinner at Chick-Fil-A. Mike was doing something work-related so I decided that she and I would go out to eat and then run to the grocery store after I picked her up from the sitter's house.
It was at the sitter's house that I found out it was "family night" at the particular Chick-Fil-A we were going to. Free food for Kaitlyn = awesome.
When we arrived at Chick-Fil-A, we both got the surprise of our lives. We walked through the door and were greeted by the Chick-Fil-A cow. As in, a huge, person-dressed-up-in-a-costume cow.
Kaitlyn FREAKED. OUT.
Before I could respond she had practically leaped up into my arms and was clawing and screaming. If a costumed cow could have facial expressions, I think this one would have looked just as terrified as Kaitlyn. He/she slowly backed away from the door, as if to say, "Um, yeah. Looks like my job here is done. Good luck with the screaming kid, lady."
I took her into the bathroom and got her calmed down. We ordered, then sat at a table FAAAAR away from the family night activities and the cow. By the time we left, Kaitlyn decided that maybe the cow wasn't that bad, and even waved good-bye to him/her.
The cow incident has been mentioned now and again over the past two months. Daddy heard all about it, Meagan (Kaitlyn's sitter) heard all about it, the grandparents heard all about it, and probably a few cashiers, servers, and random strangers have also been told about the cow.
So, one day last week Kaitlyn and I are on our way home after work. I had been to Chick-Fil-A that day and my cup was still in the cup holder. Would you believe that Kaitlyn recognized the cup and started talking about that darn cow? There was no hint of a cow picture on the cup. How did she know where it was from??
Here is a glimpse into the next five minutes of conversation:
K: Mommy, I don't like the cow.
K: That cow scared me.
Me: I know. But you're ok now, right?
Me: It was just a person dressed up like a cow.
K: It was just a person?
Me: Yes - remember, we talked about that. And remember how you liked the cow at the end? Remember how you waved to it?
K: Mommy, I don't want to see the cow again.
Me: Ok. You don't have to see the cow again. I know it scared you honey, but there's nothing to be scared of. If you get scared you can just ask Jesus to help you.
K: Mommy - I don't want to see the cow!
Me: Ok - we won't go see the cow.
K: But mom - MOM! I don't want to see the cow.
K: Mommy, I don't want to see the cow.
Me: Yes, I understand. We won't go see the cow.
K: I don't want that cow to get me.
Me: He won't get you. I promise.
K: [getting a little dramatic] Mommy - I don't want to see the cow!
Me: Yes. Ok.
K: Um, mom?
Me: What honey?
K: [nonchalantly] I don't want to see that cow again.
K: But I don't want to see the cow.
Me: O. K.
K: But I don't want to see the cow.
Me: I said Ohhhhhhhh Kaaaaaaay. You don't have to see the cow. Trust me - we won't be going back there anytime soon.
K: [rambling, hard to understand mumbling about the cow, ending with a question mark, insinuating that I should provide an answer]
K: [big sigh] Where is the cow?
Me: I don't know.
K: You don't know? But where is the cow?
Me: Kaitlyn, seriously, I have no idea where the cow is.
K: Mom! I don't want that cow to get me!
Me: I know. Kaitlyn, listen: YOU. ARE NOT. GOING. TO SEE. THE COW. THE COW. IS NOT. GOING. TO GET. YOU.
K: But where is he?
Me: Honey, he's probably still at Chick-Fil-A.
K: Is he in the kitchen at Chick-Fil-A?
Me: Um, yes. Yes. He's definitely in the kitchen at Chick-Fil-A.
K: But why is he in the kitchen?
Me: [thinking, "really?? am I having this conversation?"] Because that's where he belongs. Far, far away from you.
K: Mom, I don't want to see the cow.
Me: [Silence. Thinking, "If I don't respond, maybe she'll end this ridiculous conversation.]
K: I don't want to see that cow again.
Later this week: The cow, part 2; the next morning.