Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Sully and I were walking home from the park this morning when he stopped, crouched, and pointed at the ground. He was excited.

"I think I see A TOADIE HOLE!"

I said, "A what?"


I said, "What's a Toadie?"

He was still crouched over the hole, which probably belonged to a gopher, but he looked up at me with a big smile on his face. "Well," he said, because that's how he begins most of his sentences these days because, honestly, that's how I begin most of my sentences when I'm talking to him. He made big gestures with his little arms as he spoke. "A Toadie  has mouth-es but no eyes. It has cheeks and arms and legs and all those things. And it lives in a very, veeeery, very-very small hole. I saw one."

I always treat these conversations carefully, like I'm a conversation archaeologist. I can tell there's more in there, that he's thought about this at length, but if I ask the wrong question he'll just shut down.

Like, one time he was telling me a story about his imaginary friend, Raligi, and I asked him a leading question and he just stared at me, suspiciously, like he understood that I was mining the conversation for gold to send to his grandparents in a text message later that afternoon, which I was, because I learned from Art Linkletter exactly how to make Kids Say the Darndest Things, and he said, "I'm not talking about Raligi anymore."

So, you know, I have to be careful.

I looked away from him, indicating a moderate level of interest in the conversation, and said, "What did it do?"

"It jumped out of the hole!" he cried. "It poked me in the eyes! It gave me lots of money to buy toys with!"

I wondered how it knew where his eyes were if it didn't have eyes itself. I wondered if it poked him in the eyes because it didn't have any eyes of its own—and was this a matter of jealousy? Resentment? Or just curiosity? "How big was it?" I asked, still trying to play it cool.

"It was like a big man," he said. "But a really, reeeeally big man."

"But if it was like a big man, how did it get down into that veeeeery small hole?"

"It used the stairs. I'm not going to talk about Toadie anymore."