My visits home to family are not always particularly cheerful, especially lately, but the silver lining in that cloud is always that I get to play with my niece and nephew. They are incredibly cute, and as they get older (they're approximately 5 and 3 now) it's more and more fascinating to listen to them talk and see how their minds work.
On my last visit to my sister's house, the kids decided to drag me into Nephew's room and imprison me. They pointed their little fingers at me and ordered me to stay put. Then they started grabbing toys and saying "You might need this!" And then of course they took them away. So I had to play all sad and say "Oh no! I might need that! But you're taking it away! What am I going to do without it?"
After they'd removed quite a few toys, I asked why they were taking them away and what they were going to do with them. My niece declared that they were going to sell them at a yard sale, and elaborated as follows:
Niece (age 5): We are taking all your toys and tomorrow we're having a yard sale.
Nephew (age 3): A yard sale!
Niece: We're going to sell your toys and Santa isn't going to bring you any new ones. Santa is going to bring me [counting on fingers then giving up] 21 toys, and he's going to bring Nephew 20 toys--
Nephew: He's bringing me 21 toys too!
Niece: -- and he's bringing you [holds up fist with no fingers out] NO toys! And we're selling all your toys at the yard sale!
Madame X: Oh no! Why am I not getting any toys? I was good this year!
Niece: No, he's not bringing you any new toys and you can't have any old toys because we're selling them at the yard sale.
Madame X: What are you going to do with all the money you make from the yard sale?
Niece: We are going to the original dog park. It takes money and money and money to go there. They only let in one girl and one boy and you can't go! Only one girl and one boy and not even Mummy and Daddy can go and... and... no, they let in two boys and two girls and I'm going and Nephew's going and Mummy's going and Daddy's going and you can't go!
Nephew: You can't go!
I asked my sister later where all that had come from. She was kind of at a loss about the very expensive "original dog park," but the yard sale concept turned out to have originated from a conversation she had with the kids while trying to clean up the house. She pointed out that they had lots and lots of toys and didn't even have time to play with them all, and did they know that there were poor children who didn't have any toys at all, and didn't they think that was very sad? Didn't they want to have a yard sale or give away some of their old toys so poor children could have them, since Santa was going to bring Niece and Nephew nice new toys very soon? Wouldn't it be nice for the poor children to get some toys to play with too?
My sister was then rather disturbed that my niece just tossed her head in a huff and said "No! I want to keep ALL my toys!"
Yikes! Hopefully she grows out of it!