She warily look over her hands and scowled over the top of them at a picture in a convex glass frame a little ways down from us. "I don't like that man," she said. Ahhh. . . a picture. Though most people would still be puzzled at this point, I knew exactly what was going on. A few months back, I had taken Maggie and Aleita to the Cracker Barrel to have dinner on a Friday night while Chris was working at a football game (it isn't necessarily my favorite place in the world, but the kids absolutely love the pancakes.) While we were seated at our table, which was in the same section we were sitting in on Sunday, Aleita spotted a picture of a man on the wall in a curved glass frame that she did not like. It was a man with a stern face and dour expression, as most of those pictures in the antique curved glass frames tend to be, and looking at it made her uncomfortable.
I can't say that I blame her. Most of the portraits of people in those antique bubble glass frames tend to freak me out a little bit too. Growing up, my grandparents had a few of those pictures tucked away upstairs in a closet. I tried to make it a point to never go in there because - distantly related to me or not - those portraits of the men and women and their harsh, unyielding expressions always gave me the creeps.
Aleita's discomfort is not limited to just stern-looking people in antique frames though. She actually does have a weird thing about certain people's faces in pictures that really makes her uncomfortable. There are certain restaurants that when we go to them, we always have to remember to request to sit in a certain section, or Aleita gets all worked up and won't eat. At Applebee's, she can't be seated anywhere near the large Marilyn Monroe picture. At Texas Roadhouse, there is a mural of a large Native American Chief in full headress that she refers to as the "scary turkey" that had better not be visible, or we have to put up with a fussy three-year old who won't eat her meal.
On Sunday, once she had spotted her nemesis in the curved glass picture, she was done with her meal of pancakes and sausage that she had fully been enjoying up to that point. No amount of coaxing was going to get her to finish. Usually Aleita is the last one done eating - - she is even slower to finish than my mom in most cases, and that is a hard contest to win. But once Aleita spots a picture she doesn't like, you had better cover it up or take it off the wall, because otherwise, mealtime is over. Once she spotted the guy this Sunday, she was ready to head on out (even though we weren't through eating.) She spent the rest of our time there with her milk cup held in front of her face so she wouldn't have to look at his portrait.
Perhaps I could get one made in wallet size, so when we are at the park or at McDonald's and I am ready to go home and she starts to fuss, all I have to do is pull the picture out and tell her that it will only be put away once she gets in the car. Hmm. . .I may be onto something here!