It started as a game, over the phone, before I even got to Washington DC for this last trip. The opening dialogue went like this:
Michelle: “Tahli, do you want to come say hello to Auntie Lisa?”
Tahli (in the background, is clearly none too thrilled at the prospect of yet another phone conversation with invisible and distant relatives): “No. I’m very busy right now.”
Lisa: “Ask Tahli if she wants to come live in Laos with Auntie Lisa.”
Michelle repeats the question to Tahlia.
There is a very long silence then a small, tentative, voice, “All my friends come too.”
So during this trip I asked her a couple more times at random intervals, until the dialogue went like this.
Lisa: “Tahli, do you want to come live with me in Laos?”
Michelle rolls her eyes.
Wednesday, picking up Tahlia from pre-school on our way to Dulles airport. Tahlia climbs into the car:
Tahli: “We go to my house now?”
Michelle: “No, we’re going to the airport to drop off Auntie Lisa.”
Tahlia (quietly, to herself): “I go with Auntie Lisa to Laos.”
Michelle (to me): “Did she just say Laos? She can’t even say Australia yet and you have her saying Laos?”
Michelle (to Tahlia): “Tahli, can you say Australia?”
Michelle: “Tahli, why do you want to go? Do you like the planes? Do you like Laos? Or do you like Auntie Lisa?”
Tahlia: “I like Laos.”
Wednesday, three hours after dropping me off at Dulles airport I receive a text message from Jed that reads:
Tahli: “I want to go with Auntie Lisa, cause I miss her soooooo much.”
Jed: “But if you went with Auntie Lisa, wouldn’t you miss Daddy?”
Tahlia: “Someday I’d come back Daddy.”