I might have made a mistake by telling Katrina a story about Cousin Remi. But all the kids love hearing stories about their cousins, and Remi is full of funny ones.
Last summer, my mother reported, my niece Remi, who is naturally athletic and a confident climber, climbed high up into a tree at my Mom & Paul's country house in Pennsylvania. Too high -- she couldn't get back down. Her brother Aidan tried to get to her, but couldn't. I think my sister did too, but couldn't (I forget). Finally, Papa Paul came to the rescue, and climbed up high enough to help Remi down.
Somehow, I related the story about Remi climbing up the tree to Katrina. I don't remember why, but it was just relevant enough at the time, and I thought she'd find it amusing. I told it to her as little more than a passing comment, as we were shopping at Trader Joe's yesterday. Katrina was riveted and pounded me with questions as I pondered rising beef prices.
"Did Cousin Remi get into a tree...and get STUCKED?!"
"Cousin Remi climbed a tree?"
"Did she get STUCKED?!"
"Cousin Remi climbed the tree and couldn't get back DOWNED?!"
"Did Cousin Remi cry?"
"Was Cousin Remi scared when she got STUCKED?!"
"Did Remi climb way way way up HIGH and couldn't get DOWNED?!"
"Cousin Remi cried when she was STUCKED way up high?"
"Did Remi get scared when she was STUCKED?!"
"Did Cousin Remi climb way way up HIGH?"
"Cousin Remi was scared when she couldn't get back DOWNED?"
"Cousin Remi was STUCKED in the TREE?!"
My initial storytelling about two other people trying to rescue Remi only fueled the fire.
"Cousin Aidan couldn't climb up to Remi?"
"Cousin Remi was STUCKED up too high?"
"Did Cousin Remi cry for Cousin Aidan?"
"Was Cousin Aidan scared when he went to get Remi?"
"Cousin Aidan couldn't climb up HIGH NUFF?!"
"Cousin Remi was too high?"
"Cousin Remi was STUCKED way up too high where Aidan couldn't go?"
"I love Cousin Aidan so much Mommy"
"Cousin Aidan tried to get Cousin Remi?"
"Cousin Remi was too stucked up too high?"
I assured her that Papa Paul saved Remi and that everyone was fine.
"Papa Paul climbed way up high and got Cousin Remi?"
"Papa Paul SAVED Remi?"
In fact, I told her, trying to make light of it, it was so silly that later, Mom & Papa Paul's 6-month-old kitten got stuck in the same tree, and Papa Paul had to climb up again to rescue the kitty!! Papa Paul had to climb up twice!
Uh-oh. Big mistake.
"Did the kitty get up in the tree and get STUCKED?!"
"Did Papa Paul climb way up high to get the kitty?"
"Did the kitty cry and cry?"
"Was the kitty scared when...."
I'll spare you gentle readers from the remaining half-hour of the exact same conversation.
This morning, as I was dropping Katrina off at preschool, the episode was still on her mind. "Mommy...I'm not going to get stucked in a tree. I'm not a very good climber."