The devil - age 3.5 - is sitting in her favorite toddler chair, cooing at an unhappy orange kitten clenched to her chest. Every time she loosens her hold one iota, the kitten scrabbles around on her, leaving nifty gashes to be shown off later to an admiring older brother. (I have no doubt whatsoever that in her world, she's a Viking, comparing battle wounds around some smoky fire and swilling grog.)
Finally, she eases her grip on the cat for one nanosecond while reaching for a shape sorter to stuff it into, and it launches itself away from her like it has been shot from a small evil cannon, propelled mainly by the power of its back claws.
THE DEVIL: "Oh, that's a good kitten, you're so nice, you're such a - YOU LITTLE BASTARD!"
ME: (Shocked. But, in retrospect, I'm not really sure why. ANYway...) "KATHERINE!!!"
THE DEVIL: (Clearly wounded by my tone) "What? I didn't say you were a little bastard..."