Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Think My Daughter is a Spy

You know how, in spy novels, there's always some secret catchphrase or password that the secret agents use to identify each other, to determine who's a good guy and who isn't? Something like, "The eagle flies at midnight" or "Joe sent me" or "A Volkswagen Carmen Ghia has no radiator" (if you've seen the movie Cars 2 a million times, as I have, that last one should sound very familiar). My daughter has been uttering phrases like that all week long, to everyone she meets, obviously hoping for a countersign. Some of the more common ones are, "Max the dragon has lost his glasses," "Rocks can't talk," and "Follow me, Gossie!"

I'm pretty sure she's a spy.

It's not just the secret passwords, either. I often find her speaking into random objects, like a Barbie doll, a toy car, a stuffed animal, or a shoe (Maxwell Smart, anyone?). And if I ask her what she's up to, she immediately puts on an innocent face and, with an angelic smile, informs me sweetly, "Nothin'!" I'm not buying it, though. I think she's setting up a meet with her weasel. But as it's generally in code ("Murth dawonga weebo, na poopah"), I can't be sure.

She likes to play with my Kindle Fire, my smartphone, and my desktop computer, all of which connect to the internet. And every time she finishes using one of them, the history only shows innocent sites like Lego videos and episodes of Nick Jr. shows and PBS Kids' Games. I'm not buying that, either. I'm pretty sure she's already computer-savvy enough to wipe the browser history and plant an innocuous trail of games. I'm starting to think that "Curious George: Roller Monkey" and "Elmo Asks, 'Where's Telly?'" are really just ways to pass along secret information on other spies; "drop sites," if you will.

The really scary part, though, is that I'm not entirely sure she's a good guy. She tends to cheer for the villains more often than a secret agent on the right side of the law should. The adoring way she announces, "Exborgs!" when the villainous army makes an appearance to fight the Power Rangers; the excitement in her voice when the letters crash down from the coconut tree in "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom"; the giddy laughter when one of the cartoon bad guys gets the best of Word Girl - those are all signs that she may not be playing on the good guys' team.

On the other hand, being a spy seems to be teaching her some really useful life skills. She can apparently speak multiple languages (one of them sort of being English), her computer hacking skills are right up there with the average freshman at MIT, and her innocent face could win her an Academy Award. When it comes to disguises, she is the queen of dressing up. She can transform herself into a princess, a hoppy frog, or a dragon in the blink of an eye, with a minimum of accessories. And she is almost hamster-like in her ability to squeeze into and through small spaces.

Oh well, maybe having an evil secret agent in the family isn't such a bad thing. Evil spies have minions, right? I could do with a minion or two around here. Preferably one that does laundry. And windows. Maybe even an evil pool boy minion. Yeah, I could get behind this secret agent thing. Okay, Joe sent me. Now get him to send me those minions!

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