I love my niece. She is six years old now. I called her Tuesday morning to talk to her a little bit on my birthday. We usually have the "shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings" type of conversation. We talked a bit about the hair pretties that I had sent to her the week before. I sent them because she had cut her own hair. As usual, the result was not perhaps what was hoped for and my sister had been hopping mad at her for it. Granted it was the THIRD time she had cut her own hair with disasterous results so her mother had a right to be upset. I sent the hair bands and bows because I felt sorry for her. EVERY girl cuts her own hair and ends up with a questionable outcome at least once in her life.
After hair, our conversation turned to my neighbor's swimming pool. I told her that Uncle John and I had been for a swim the day before and that when she comes to visit in August, she could go swimming with us. Then I said we would blow up the air mattresses and float around in the pool. She thought this sounded like a good idea. I mentioned that Uncle John and I did not have a beach ball and that we were going to get one to play with in the pool. My niece then said "Well, maybe you should just wait for your birthday." This remark went straight over my head. I thought how like a child to tell you to wait for your birthday to get something you want and then gave no further mental acuity to it.
That night when I opened my birthday presents after dinner, there was a small flat package marked "From Marta" that my sister had sent in the box with my other gifts. I opened it and burst out laughing because there was the beach ball. I was so tickled that she had managed not to tell me while still giving me the large, economy-sized hint that a beach ball I would have but not until my birthday!