Annie is in the question-asking phase. On Monday during a thirty minute car ride, she said, “What’s that?” about 187 times. She was also pointing when she asked, but since I was driving I couldn’t look at what she was asking about. I started saying things like, “A tractor!” or “A lemur!” because if I didn’t reply she just started saying, “MOM! What is it what is it what is it!!!” over and over. Luckily, she realized I was joking and she started laughing.

The next day she was onto a new question, “What’s that sound?” Even when she knew the answer, she asked. So when the phone rang, the toilet flushed, the dog barked, the radio played, Annie said “What’s that sound, Mama?” Eventually our house was too quiet, and she started asking me even when there wasn’t any noise. So I started making up answers again (“A hummingbird! A lemur!” Apparently I’m into lemurs right now.) and she cracked up.

Yesterday I had to mail some things, so I brought Annie with me to our P.O. Box. It’s a small storefront, and there were a few people ahead of us. Annie stood on line with me, quietly holding onto my purse. I was mentally willing the line to move faster, because you never know when a toddler’s patience is going to wear out. Plus the wall we were lined up against was stocked with envelopes and random tchotchke impulse buys that I knew would catch Annie’s eye if we stood still for too long.

Annie surprised me and was really good while we waited. She got a little fidgety, but to be fair, I did too. We were almost to the counter when it happened. The guy in front of me (probably in his mid-to-late twenties) passed gas. Before the twelve-year-old inside me could react, the two-year-old next to me said, “Mama, what’s that sound?” Since we’re in the pre-potty training phase I would normally answer that question truthfully, but I didn’t want to embarrass the guy so I said, “I didn’t hear anything, honey.”

Annie wasn’t having it. “Mama, no. His butts say ‘thhhpppppt.'” She stuck our her tongue and blew a raspberry to demonstrate. The man directly behind me started guffawing, and the guy in front of me turned around. “Damn! That little lady is callin’ me OUT!” Then it was his turn so he walked to the counter, leaving me just when Annie said, “His butts talk, Mama,” to the great amusement of the people behind me.

I should have just told her it was a lemur.