His meltdown moved from yelling at Ace to throwing something at the cashier to clinging obsessively to me on the way to the car. I made a mental list of "happy Zee" contingency plans in case he didn't fall asleep on the ride home.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, the mood in the backseat shifted though. Ace began quietly and gently asking Zee a litany of simple "what's your favorite____?" questions...
Food? Mac n cheese.
Musical instrument? Drums.
She had taken him and me, in a few minutes with her soothing interview, from on the edge to at peace. My muscles relaxed, a little, as I happily eavesdropped, stifling a few awed giggles as her questioned produced a few unintended responses...
A: Who are your favorites cousins?
Z: Ayden and Jackson.
A: They're not cousins; they're friends.
Z: And neighbors.
A: Okay, what's your favorite fish?
Z: A cardinal.
A: That's not a fish; that's a bird.
Z: Oh, yeah, right.
A: What about sharks? Do you like sharks?
Z: Sharks? Um, no. They're mean and bite us.
A: What fish do you like?
A: Do you like dolphins? They are like fish.
Z: Dolphins? I like dolphins.
A: Could they be your favorite fish? Dolphins?
Z: Um, yes. They are happy and don't bite us.
Thank goodness for dolphins.