Evan and I have a little bedtime ritual. After we read books, we play a game called Animal Guesses. It's pretty self-explanatory: One person thinks of an animal (the more of a "stumper," the better) and provides clues in order for the other person to correctly name the animal. It's a sweet, quiet, thoughtful time that I really love (and I love it all the more because it's a game that Evan "saves" for me....he and Sam don't play it on the nights that Sam reads to him, and when I suggested that he play it with Mom Mom on the rare night that we went out, he said, "Oh, no thanks. That's just a Mommy and Evan game.").
And the kid is really good at it, too. Some of the animals that I've had to figure out recently have included a bandicoot, a proboscis monkey, and a pipefish (the clue that gave this one away was learned in an Animal Dads book we have: "The daddy of this animal has the babies....and it's NOT a seahorse!"). He's getting pretty good at scaffolding his clues, too. He'll start, for instance, by saying that it's a mammal, allowing my guesses to be wildly random like Horse, Elephant, and Fruit Bat. Then he'll narrow it down, finally disclosing the specific fact that we have read about or watched on PBS's Wild Kratts. Occasionally he'll throw me off by providing a clue like, "It's medium-sized-biggish," or "All I can tell you is that it only eats plants. And sometimes meat. But mostly plants......and some meat." And sometimes he forgets that I'm the one he's trying to stump: "It's a reptile. Or an amphibian. Or, wait, what's a newt again?"
Last night, though, he was tired. I can always tell when he's really tired, like, doesn't-get-out-of-bed-even-once-after-I-tuck-him-in tired, because he gives away the answer without even trying to stump me. After correctly guessing my Clouded Leopard in just four clues, Evan yawned and said, "Okay, I have one: it's a longish, snaky animal. And it lives in the Eastern part of the....hmmm? The country? Or World? I don't know, exactly. I just know it lives in an Eastern part. And it has a pattern on it's back that looks like diamonds. And it's got a special rattling tail." I thought really hard before guessing: "Is it an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake?"
"Man, Mommy," he said, his eyes already closing, "You're getting really good at this game."
THAT. That, I love.