I told my daughter Tess, who is now nearly 4 by god, that after dance class we’d trudge over to Caffe Napoli for hot chocolate. What I like best about 4 year-olds is that they notice things. Things like bulldozers. Tess was, at that moment, guiding me around one.
“But do you have any money, Papa?”
“No you don’t,” Tess said.
Sometimes she knows more about my life than I do, so who was I to argue. Maybe I didn’t have hot chocolate money.
“Why don’t you think I have money, Punkin?”
Her little voice began to crack. A nerve, I’d hit a nerve.
“Because Mommy always takes money from your wallet,” she said, “so now you don’t have any.”
It was an observation based on a scene from a few minutes earlier. Tracy had, indeed, taken money from my wallet. I’d probably said something to the effect that what she found was all I had. So I guess little Tess had deduced that wallets came with money, and when emptied, they were done. For fifteen minutes now, the time it takes to get to dance class and dodge a parked bulldozer, she’d imagined us being whatever broke looks like to a 4 year old.
She’d be stuck watching Shrek DVDs for the rest of her life because mommy took our last dime for a haircut.