Tina the three-year-old has a policy whereby she always disagrees with Papa. If I say, “You are my cutsie!,” she has to say, “No, I am mama’s tootsie.” If I say, “You are Tina,” she must respond, “No, I am Tina Ree Homes” (Faustina Marie Holmes). Just this morning, as we began a conversation, I asked her, “Are you going to disagree with Papa?” “Uh-huh!” she assured me cheerfully.
So sometimes I say things just to provide some kind of reasonable provocation for the inevitable disagreement. This evening when she asked for a drink, I told her, “I will give you a drink–on your head!”
“No,” she retorted, “in my mouth!”
“Your mouth is in your head,” I pointed out.
“No,” she said, dutifully following policy but unsure how to conclude the sentence, “it’s in my…mouthy thing.”