Last week, the Little One and I headed out for a playdate with friends. I told her to pack up the toys she wanted to bring, usually an assortment of microscopic animal figures and their molecule-sized accessories, most of which have a nasty habit of finding their way into my vacuum cleaner.
Diligently and using very good 'listening ears,' she collected her pea-sized possessions. "I'm ready!" she announced proudly, hand on the doorknob. "Mama," she said, her smart little ponytail swinging behind her, "I packed some snacks in my purse."
"Really." Skeptical about her snack selection, I was about to explain that some snacks--like broccoli or hummus or jello--aren't meant to be packed in purses.
"Don't worry," she said, opening the front door. "I put an ice pack in there too, to keep them cold. It's pretty full, but I got it zipped."
My resourceful, thoughtful Little One, packing snacks for our friends--complete with an ice pack--in her black leather Nine West hand-me-down purse from grandma.
After I had my "aww, isn't that sweet" moment, I could have asked for further clarification. And through the crystal clear lens of retrospect, it's plain that I should have. But, we were already running late. And anyway, it's not like she'd pack the leftover ravioli from last night's dinner in her purse, right? A few cheese sticks maybe, and some goldfish, sure. I'd just take a peek inside her purse on arrival.
"Alright, kiddo. Let's move it out."
It's a short ride to our friends' house and Michele Norris was keeping us company on the way, explaining the intricacies of a potential federal government shutdown. A veteran NPR listener since her infancy, I assumed the Little One was as riveted as I.
Until a wail erupted from the back seat.
"What's wrong, baby?" In the rear view mirror, I could see the enormous tears rolling down her already flushed cheeks. "What happened?"
"They broke! Ahhhhhhhh!" Another wail, followed by some hiccups.
"What broke, sweetest?"
"The eggs!" Wail. Hiccup. Snort. Wail.
"Eggs?" I turned around to see her tiny hands holding open a too-big-for-her purse. Inside, several freshly broken eggs were mashed up against an ice pack and smeared all over an assortment of tiny animal critters, at least three dozen hair ties, one of my credit cards and a broken tiara.
"Oh, baby." Don't laugh. She's upset.
"I wanted to bring them a snack and it's broken and everything is egg-y!" Wail, snort, hiccup, etc.
Pushing her little hand into the yolky mess, she scooped out some shell-flecked slime. "Here! I don't want it." She flung the goo toward the front seat.
With egg literally on my face, I tried very, very hard not to let her see me laughing.
Upon arrival at our friends' home, the recent egg-tastrophe was almost immediately forgotten. And fortunately, I was able to clean the purse and many of the things it contained. Though one small prairie dog-like creature--may she rest in peace--couldn't be saved.
The next morning, the egg debacle no more than a slimy memory, I looked in the refrigerator. Guess what I didn't have.
She'd put every single egg we had into that purse of hers. No wonder it was so full. That little prairie dog didn't have a chance.
So, eggs have been added to my shopping list. Presumably, the next time she wants to bring some to a friends' house, she'll at least attempt to transport them in the carton. And speaking of cartons, there's one more little piece to this egg-centric tale to relate: The egg carton she emptied? I found it in our recycling bin.