A Birthday Lunch, a Cookie and a Hippo

Today, after weeks of postponement, the girls and I finally got to go out with Junie to celebrate her birthday. (As far as I’m concerned, she is the same age as I am, 31 this year, but I suspect she may actually be slightly older, since she is my grandfather’s sister. It is not to be discussed.) We had a lovely lunch at Panera and then walked across to Barnes & Noble hoping to get a chance to chat while the girls played with the trains.

Low-maintenance girls were not so much the order of the day, but we did have a fun afternoon reading them books and enjoying some yummy treats. We were poised to make our getaway before anyone melted down or dirtied their diaper. That is, until Romilly got her chocolatey fingers all over a little stuffed hippo.

I wiped off as much as I could and quickly shoved the hippo back with its friends, hoping my conscience wouldn’t notice what had just happened. Then I promptly picked it back up, and marched it up to the check-out with Bea and Pippa in tow. Ro went to wait by the front door with Junie, where she apparently spent the whole time tugging desperately to try to get back to us while I had this conversation:

B&N employee: Hi.

Me: Hi. I’m buying this because we chocolated it. (I think I half hoped for an “Oh, that’s okay, you don’t have to. It happens all the time.” No such luck.)

Her: Ha ha. Okay.

Me: Can’t have too many stuffed hippos, right?

Her: (Cheerfully) Right. Especially green ones. (???) (Then, looking at the girls) Which one of them did it?

Me: Oh, not one of these two. The middle one. She’s over there.

Her: (Looking over there) Oh, you have another one?  Wow, you’re a trouper!

Me: Yeah… Oh! I mean, she’s over there with my aunt. Not by herself. She’s not chocolating more things. At least, I hope not…

Her: Okay. Do you need a bag for that?

I didn’t. I thanked her, took the hippo, and made a beeline for Junie and Romilly to find Ro lying on the floor and Junie on her knees trying to coax her back up. It was not our smoothest ever exit from Barnes & Noble, but at least we got a new friend out of the deal. I’m thinking of naming him Chunk, after the Chocolate Chunk cookie that caused him to join our family. Any other suggestions?