Jane pretends to nap with the most patient cat on the planet.
"Are you a kitty now?" I asked her.
"Jane - kitty," she informed me, and began scratching at the cat's scratching post. It was mildly annoying, but nothing I couldn't ignore.
"Jane - scratch."
"Ah, you're scratching at the post like the kitty. Is that it?"
"Mm-hmm. [cue toddler falsetto] Meow!" She came over and indicated she wanted to sit in my lap. I pulled her up to me and sat her in my lap. Then she did the unexpected, and licked my arm.
"Did you just lick my arm?" I asked her with a furrowed brow.
"Jane - kitty!" she repeated, and licked me again.
I jerked my arm away and said, "Jane! Don't lick me. We don't do that."
She frowned at me, letting me know she was using her angry eyes.
"Jane, you don't need to use your angry eyes. We don't lick people. You know that."
She looked at me like I simply didn't get it and sighed. She then repeated, "Jane - kitty. Meow! Meow!"
Ah. I got it. She was a cat.
This made me stop for a moment. The meowing was almost endearing, and the scratching at the post was just in between cute and irritating, but licking was square in the middle of annoying. If I were to send her to her room for it, she'd simply find some other time to do it, like when we're at church, when I can't send her to her room.
"Jane," I told her calmly, "if you really want to be a kitty, then you should be doing only kitty things. So, let's go look at Kitty and she what kinds of things she does."
Jane brightened at this idea, and followed me into my bedroom where the cat lay sleeping at the foot of my bed.
"So, looks like Kitty sleeps a lot..." Just then the cat roused, stretched, and started to jump off the bed. "And she stretches, so you'll need to start stretching more... If you really want to be a kitty, you'll need to choose one of the beds and sleep at the foot of it... or you can sleep in the garage. Kitty sleeps out there too. And you won't be able to watch TV, because Kitty never does that. Oh, and no crafts either. Kitties don't do crafts."
Kitty's bed in the garage. Kitty's real name is Chairman M'ow.Jane was starting to take all of this in as she followed me from the bedroom back to the kitchen. We stood for a brief moment in silence, while Jane thought about all the things she would have to do as a kitty, and the things she could be doing as a little girl.
"Well, I'm going to have some watermelon. I'd ask if you want some too, but since you're a kitty, you don't eat watermelon. I really wish you'd be my little girl, though, so you could have watermelon with me."
"Jane - little girl. Jane watermelon too," she told me.
"You're my little girl again?" I asked with mock surprise.
"Yes! Jane - little girl," she said happily.
"Oh I'm so glad you chose to be my little girl instead of being a kitty. I like having you as my little girl!" I told her, scooping her up into my arms in a big hug as she giggled.
It's been two days and Jane hasn't licked me or scratched at the post since.
Battle won. No shots fired.