Ella does this cute little thing where she’ll ask us to clap after she sings. It started as a way to motivate her to eat. She’d grudgingly take a bit and I’d start cheering like a madman, like the Astros actually won a World Series game.

She likes it. She eats, we cheer. She poops … in the toilet, we cheer. She remembers her ABCs, we cheer.

Then she started using us as her personal Greek chorus. “Sing, guys!” She says encouragingly, as if we’re being shy about it.

Or she’ll sing something, which we won’t recognize as a song at first, and she’ll stop, there’ll be a quiet pause, and she’ll say, “Clap, guys!” As if, come on! Get a clue! Keep up, here, old people!

Sunday we were coming back from town (after the whole talk about church) and Ella’s singing a song, Ol’ King Cole or something, and she stopped. But instead of saying, “Clap, guys!” She said,

“Say alleluia, guys!”

WHAT? Trish and I looked at each other, each of our mouths agape. “What did you say?”

“Say alleluia, guys!”

Is this our child? We haven’t taken her to a Southern Baptist tent revival, or been around any snake handlers or even a contemporary catholic mass where they play guitars and shake a tamborine like white folks. She’s heard Lyle Lovett with a gospel choir, but not lately.

I’m thinking, where’s Trish been taking this child? What’s she been exposing her to? But Trish was as shocked and baffled as I was.

“Where’d you hear that?” Trish and I were in unison.

“Jesus told me to say it!”

“What?!!”

Where do kids get this stuff? My daughter’s not yet 3. What kinds of life experiences can she have had? She hasn’t been to church in many weeks, and when she goes she concentrates on pulverizing Kix into the seat cushions. Now she’s suddenly developed a personal relationship with the Lord?

Either something really spiritually freaky’s going on, or our kid is off-the-charts creative and imaginative. If she starts predicting natural disasters or healing invalids, well, I guess I’ll have to admit something heavenly is afoot.

Then again, last night we were “going to work” in her “car” and suddenly she decided, “let’s go eat Chinese.”

We’ve never taken her to a Chinese restaurant. She doesn’t know what she’s really talking about. Proof: when we “got there” she ordered oatmeal.

See?

She must be reading, or listening to NPR.

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