We were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a pre-bedtime snack of hard-boiled eggs when Miss M looked up from her salt pit to ask me a question.
"Mom, what does ... 'crack up' mean?"
Now, for some reason, I just instinctively knew that wasn't the phrase she meant to ask me. But instead of going the easy route, I sought clarification.
"Do you mean 'break up,' honey?"
"Yeah, break up! What does break up mean?"
I tried too late to save myself by using a time-honored parental tactic.
"Where did you hear that, honey?"
"L, at school. He said he was going to break up with me."
No. No no no. We are ten years too early for this conversation. Another diversionary tactic.
"Big L or Little L?"
Hm. That didn't buy me much time. There's only one way to handle this now.
"I don't know what that means, honey."
She went back to eating her egg for a minute, then burst out in frustration.
"You don't know anything! You don't even know what a word means!"
And I didn't argue. Because I can read her a book and she'll think I'm brilliant again, but for a girl who wears her feelings on the outside of her body, it would take much longer to recover from a peer's insult. At four and a half years old, I'd rather her think I'm an idiot than feel rejected by a boy.
P.S. I hate you, Big L.