(We're in the car, driving through downtown Seattle at night, on our way to pick up Brandon from work.)
Oscar: (Listening to the stereo music) Mama, what's this song that's playing?
Me: It's by John Coltrane, and it's a song called "My Favorite Things."
(A pause long enough for me to wonder whether Oscar's about to tell me he doesn't like it.)
Oscar: (Ebulliently) Red is my favorite color!
Me: (Relieved) That's right! Hooray!
(We bask in the glow of this idea for a block or two.)
Me: Hey, what's your favorite thing to eat?
Oscar: My favorite thing to eat is . . . sweet stuff.
Me: (Sighing) Yeah, you like sweet stuff.
Oscar: Yeah, like burgers and stuff.
Me: Burgers aren't sweet, though.
Oscar: But I like burgers, even though they aren't sweet.
Me: Sure, sure.
(Thought bubbles: Burgers . . . )
Me: What's your favorite smell?
Oscar: My favorite smell is . . . like some really good . . . potatoes.
Me: Huh --
Oscar: Mama, why do mosquitoes like to drink your blood?
Me: I don't know, exactly. But it's like their food --
Oscar: Yeah, we're going to have to look that up. Like on the Internet or something.
(A popular refrain in our household: We'll have to look that up on the Internet.)
Oscar: Yeah, I bet the Internet would know.
Me: I bet you're right. What's your favorite time of day?
Oscar: My favorite time of day is winter.
Oscar: Because then I get to look at all the nice, white snow.
Me: I see.
Oscar: What season is it right now?
Me: It's summer.
Oscar: You like summer.
Oscar: Yes, summer's a nice time of day, too.
Me: Yes, it is.
Oscar: (Extravagantly) It's so warm!
Me: I know!
Oscar: Mama, what is that billboard with the dog and the ice on it?
(I glance over. It's an animated squirrel.)
Me: It's an advertisement for a movie called Ice Age.
Oscar: What's that?
Me: It's a cartoon. It's about animals.
Oscar: I bet those animals are really funny.