By Diane Ako
"Mommy, Daddy, I have a surprise for you!" Olivia called sweetly from the yard. I assumed - SO wrongly - that it was the usual flowers she loves to pick.
I asked her to bring it in. She insisted it could only be viewed outside. OK, must be a flower on a tree. We went out.
She led us five feet up the road and pointed to a roadkill toad, guts hanging out one side, and totally flattened on the other. We are both pretty non-reactive and calm people, but I think both our eyebrows arched.
Olivia immediately cackled a high-pitched, five-year-old's best impression of Malificent, while still pointing to the dead toad. "Do you like it?! Ha ha ha ha!"
This was the first time she's ever done something icky like that. It was not the last. I was prepared to give her even less reaction on the next "surprise."
Weeks later, I came home from work to find her bicycling around the street. She wouldn't let me go inside the house. I had to stand and watch her do her made-up tricks with fancy names on this bike.
Finally, she got off and wanted to show me "one last thing." She walked over and picked up a decapitated Barbie, and then pointed to the amputated limbs. This was again followed by semi-evil laughter.
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"I don't like this doll anymore," she answered, and kept trying to get more reaction out of me.
I wouldn't. I just told her to clean up and I went in the house.
It's a little weird, but then again, she is five. I'm going to just deadpan through this phase until she gets over it. Other suggestions?