"Mama, dere a dinosawa on dat boot."
He hands me his toy and steps toward the display of Christmas books that stand, along with the toys and candy, in the middle of the aisle. Reaching out, he pulls Our First Snow, a Dinosaur Train book, from the cardboard shelf. He turns as though he's going to hand it to me, then changes his mind. Instead, he sits down on the floor in front of the display and opens the book.
I push my cart a little closer to him. The seasonal aisle is quite full of paper and ribbons, toys and gifts, ornaments and lights. He is close enough to the small tower of books that I don't worry about him being in the way of others, but I position my cart to shield him none-the-less.
He starts on the first page, telling the story as he perceives from the pictures on the page. After perusing the page and naming each dinosaur, he moves to the next page. The process starts again. I watch with a smile.
An older woman ghosts by with her cart. I watch her face for a reaction and, when there is none, a part of me becomes indignant. Don't you see my child there?, I think. You could at least smile to acknowledge how utterly adorable he is. But of course I don't say it. She is, I'm sure, as focused on her search for Christmas supplies as I am on my adorable three year old.
Soon, the final page has been closed and a brightly smiling face glances up at me. "Aw done, Mama!" He rises, returning the book to where he got it. At first, he's set it with the back cover out but before I have a chance to mention it, he turns it the right way, the pteranodon family smiling at passers-by once more.
Back to my side he comes, his small hand reaching up for mine. "Otay, Mama. Less doe."
Times like this, it's good to be the Mama.