However, the devil hates for people to know this.
In an effort to stem the rising tide of toys and other baby paraphernalia that threatens to overrun our living room, we have installed a huge, roughly rectangular wicker basket in the corner in which to catch all the toy flotsam and stuffed animal jetsam. When I say "huge", I don't mean big enough to park the car in, but certainly I could put all 3 children in it, if I stacked carefully and made Number One Son scrunch down a little. And believe me, it's tempting.
So, as you might imagine (were you prone to imagining things about wicker baskets, which I frankly hope you are not), this basket is quite heavy when full. It has built-in handles on the short sides, and is more cumbersome to lug about than, say, a laundry basket loaded with soiled sleepers and fouled footies, and about twice the height.
The devil, just as a point of reference, is about two and a half feet tall. This thing is up to her chin.
So the other day, as I am sitting at my computer playing Mob Wars on Facebook and pretending to work on a website, Number Two begins a half-hearted whimpering as he sits in the walker. I say something high-pitched and hopefully soothing at him, to no effect. I am just debating whether to get him out and try to put him in for a nap when I observe the devil meander casually over to the basket, all nonchalant, and peer into it with an expression of deepest puzzlement, as if trying to decide which wine goes best with Cheerios and Pasta Pick-Ups. After a good while, she appears to have arrived at a conclusion of some sort, and thrusts her arm with great vehemence straight into the pile, until she is being poked in the armpit by the rim of the basket and so can reach no further. Her brow furrows.
The devil will not be thwarted by mere woven rattan.
She swirls her arm around, but not very well, and whatever she is attempting to achieve, she clearly does not, because she pulls her arm out again with a decided lack of good grace and gives the side of the basket a swift kick. She smiles thinly at the crunching noise this elicits, pushes at it again with the sole of her foot, I assume just to let it know that just because she's smiling, doesn't mean it can get away with anything while SHE'S in charge, and drops down abruptly onto her bum with a bemused "Huh."
She glances over at me and I quickly look back at my monitor. The devil hates being watched.
Several minutes pass, during which time she alternately pokes at the basket, glances at Number Two fussing in his walker, and repeats "Huh." Finally, she jumps up, grabs one of the handles, and begins dragging the full basket across the living room.
Let me remind you that her father issues a soft grunt when he moves this thing, and he's a Merchant Marine who throws massive iron chains around the deck of a ship for recreation. I have no idea how she is accomplishing this, but I am rapidly coming to a terrifying conclusion:
The devil has the strength of ten men.
I am watching openly now, more out of awe than curiosity, although I am wondering just where she intends to go with her new luggage. I'm also wondering, given her newly-displayed feat of strength, whether I'll be able to stop her if I don't like her destination. At this point her father looks up at me from the couch, and, seeing my expression, follows my gaze toward our intrepid explorer as she drags the basket across the carpet like the world's smallest Sherpa on the world's lowest Himalaya. She tugs it across the entire room, a good 15 feet, until she reaches her father's feet, at which point she delivers what is clearly a command, albeit an unintelligible one: "Gaish!"
He looks at me questioningly. I shrug.
"You heard her," I say. "Gaish!"
He shoots me a look of unmistakable hostility, then looks down at her and says "What, honey?"
Imperiously, and with ill-concealed impatience, she repeats herself: "GAISH!!"
As if giving voice to the tiny flutter of fear growing in my mind (I, after all, will be the cleaner-upper if this degenerates into crying and puking), Number Two begins wailing. I sympathize privately, but it does no one any good to demonstrate fear to the devil. She glances in my direction. I remain stalwart.
Her tone indicates she is NOT KIDDING, and as I cast my mind around for something - ANYthing - with which to distract her from this single-minded pursuit of... well, of whatever it is she's pursuing so single-mindedly, her father - bless the man! - tips the basket on its side, spilling it out like fruit from a cornucopia, and offering her the full range of its contents for her perusal. She favors him with a brisk business-like nod and plunges in with great determination, grabbing out from among the gazillion expensive doodads a simple green plastic ring from one of those stacking toys.
I am non-plussed. That? All this fuss for THAT?
I probably would have pondered this oddity much longer, except at this point, Number Two graduates from whiny grumbles to a full-blown tantrum. I rise from my chair, intending to pick him up out of his chair, when I am stopped cold by an unprecedented sight:
The devil is handing him the green ring.
He grins. SHE grins. He puts up one fatsy baby hand and she leans into his reach, resting her cheek momentarily in his open palm, says, "Awwww," pats him lightly on the head, and toddles away...
... and slaps Number One, who has the misfortune of being in her way, resoundingly across his bare upper arm. She grins when he squeals in protest.
Ah, yes. Business as usual.