My parents are in town, so last night I surprised Annie with the news as I put her to bed. “Guess what, kiddo? Tomorrow Grandpa Tony and Grandma Kathy are going to come over to our house!” Annie’s eyes widened with excitement. I kissed her forehead, then told her that the quicker she fell asleep the quicker her grandparents would be here. Annie rolled over and went to sleep in no time. Adorable, right? There’s no way I could ever regret a sweet moment like that, right?

Cut to this morning when, sometime before dawn, Annie appeared at my side of the bed.

“Wake up, Dada! We have to make Grandpa Tony and Grandma Kathy a cake!”


Annie pulled on my sleeve fervently. “Come on! We have to bake them a cake!!!”

“Go back to sleep, Annie.”

“No, Dada! We need to make them a cake! Now!”

It took a little doing, but I was finally able to convince Annie we didn’t need to bake a cake for her grandparents because we’d all be meeting my sister and her kids (including Annie’s BFF/cousin Michaela) for dinner where we could order cake for dessert. Unfortunately, at that point there was no getting back to sleep. Yay.

Annie wasn’t finished, though. A couple hours later she ran up to me and said, “Look! I made Michaela a present!”

This was the “wrapping paper” on the outside of the present:


And this is what was on the inside:


That’s right. Annie’s present was just some wadded up paper.

“Will she love it?” Annie asked.


Since I wasn’t sure Michaela would be very excited about this “present,” I put it aside and hoped that Annie would forget about it. Of course, Annie being Annie, she not only didn’t forget, but kept talking about it over and over.

“Listen, sweetie,” I eventually told her when we were out running an errand. “I don’t think Michaela is going to be as excited as you hope about that paper.”

Annie frowned. I felt bad until I realized we were at a mini-mall with a dollar store.

“You know what?” I said. “Why don’t we get her a present she might like a little more?”

Annie and I went to the dollar store where it took her all of three seconds to find just the right present:


Look, Ma! Knock-off Ariels!

At the restaurant that night Annie’s cousins arrived to find Annie holding up her present for Michaela, and let me tell you, there was a lot of excitement over this unexpected present.

A present! It’s a present! For no particular reason!

During dinner I explained the whole story to my sister who told me that Michaela had actually had a tough day, so getting a present from her cousin was just what she needed. Annie was ecstatic, too, that her present went over so well.

The best part of this all? The present kept the girls occupied all throughout dinner!


The funny postscript to this story is that I was all set to write off Annie’s weird behavior as part of being three until Heather explained that one of the books Annie checked out of the library was about a little girl who showered her family with cake and presents. Suddenly, everything made sense. When Annie gets into something, she gets into it big time. I just hope she doesn’t try to give anyone paper again until her first wedding anniversary.