The Scene After the dinner table, after a lovely family dinner. Grey, as usual, is not sitting down. My husband has his back to him, attending to our youngest.

The Incident Suddenly, my husband feels something impact on his back. His is unhappy about the object that hit his back. (Grey has been throwing lots of things lately and hitting people with them, so he was already on notice.) With a touch of asperity in his voice, he says, “Grey, what was that?”

Grey: A hippopotamus
A: No really, what was that?
Grey: A hippopotamus
A: (voice taking on the glint of steel) Gregory, what did you just throw at me.
Grey: (unfazed) A hippopotamus
A: Grey, I’m not kidding. Joking time is over. WHAT WAS THAT.
Grey: (confidently) A hippopotamus
A: (is about to boil over and explain to someone what the difference between joking and for real is with a time out)
Me: Wait a minute. Grey, can you get the hippopotamus from under the table?
Grey: Descends to the subterranean depths of the table. Returns with this:

Hippo I know, then come p-o-t
Hippo I know, then come p-o-t

Cue riotous laughter from all quarters, after which A ruefully apologizes to Grey.