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You know the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? Yeah, well, I think one of my apples didn’t even fall out of the tree. I think she’s stuck on a branch or something. She’s inherited my love for practical jokes, teasing, and hijinks and worse yet (for me), she can administer near-lethal doses already at nine-years-old.

It started about a week ago. I was devouring more of my very favorite book I’ve read all year, the devilishly brilliant Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. I was sprawled across my bed, reading furiously, ignoring all other responsibilities while trying to squeeze in as many words as I could before the sun went down and I had to close the book for the night. Hey – you go read it with kids in the house and then try calling me a scairdy cat. Go ahead. I double dog dare you.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. So Gracie walks in and asks me what I’m reading. I answer, distractedly, because I’m not really paying attention to anything but the words in front of my face. Then she asked what it was about. So I told her. It’s about a girl who can fall down rabbit holes (no, not literally) and find things. Only her rabbit hole is a covered bridge. And one time she accidentally trips into a bad guy, Charlie Manx, who kidnaps little kids and sucks their soul to keep his…um…fresh. Ish. This totally messes with the kids heads, turning them into bloody little monsters (and really, that’s being nice), before spiriting them away to his lair, Christmasland, in his Rolls Royce Wraith. Gracie tried reading over my shoulder, and noticed the Christmas music playing wherever this bad dude was, like some creepy kind of magic, and begged to read it when I was done.

Of course she wanted to read a Joe Hill book. Apple doesn’t fall blah blah blah.

“No way, baby girl,” I told her. “You’re nine. And your dad would kill me.” But I was thinking that I wouldn’t be too annoyed if she picked the book up and read it behind my back. Not that it was particularly age appropriate, but what better way to get the kid to love reading than let her read whatever she wanted?

I thought that was the end of it. Or maybe I was just too absorbed in that Willy-Wonka-crazy-elevator of a ride piloted by Joe Hill that I wasn’t paying attention. You know, to the fact that Gracie also likes practical jokes. And teasing. And hijinks.

Maybe I should have.

So this weekend, as we were climbing into the car, I turned the key and what comes blaring out of the stereo? Christmas music. I nearly wet my pants. Gracie, however, was laughing hysterically from the back seat. That little stinker put Christmas music in my CD player!!! To scare me! ON PURPOSE!!!

I am so doomed. That kid is only nine and she thought of this. What am I going to do when she’s a fully-grown prankster?

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