And while she possesses the ability to be funny on command, she is her funniest when she's not trying to be. A large part of this has to do with the fact that she is every bit as gullible as her Momma.
For example, she truly believes that if you lie, your nose will grow. After watching Pinocchio many times, Taylor started to become paranoid about this unsightly side-effect of lying. The paranoia started with several, repeated conversations with me as to "why" your nose grows when you lie? And, as any good parent would do, I told her the truth:
"That's just what happens when you lie. That's why you should never, ever lie."
About a week later, the girls got into a fight. Sydney ran downstairs crying and complained that Taylor had hit her.
"Taylor...Did you hit your sister??" I asked, in my stern parenting voice.
"Noooooooo......" Taylor replied from the top of the stairs with a crooked, naughty grin.
"Taylor...Did you hit your sister??" I asked again, only this time there was the obvious sound of threat in my voice.
"No..." She answered in a much higher voice, this time with no smile.
I attributed the change in voice and attitude to the fear of her lie being discovered. I thought she was worried about being in trouble. Or maybe she was starting to feel a little guilty for hitting her sister?
As I contemplated as to how I was going to get her to confess, I noticed her lip starting to pucker and a true tear form in the corner of her eye.
"Mommy?" she asked, while she fought back the tears.
"Yeeessss?" I asked, relieved. I was feeling proud of her for letting her guilty conscience get the best of her. Or so I thought...
As the tears started to flow, she managed to fearfully ask, "Is my nose growing???"
Of course, I explained to her that her nose was absolutely growing. In fact, I convinced her it was getting bigger and bigger by the second. But, I reassured her by telling her that as long as she told the truth, it would go back to normal.
"I did! I did hit Sydney!" She blurted out. "Is it small yet??" She demanded, while stomping her feet in a fit of panic.
I pretended to examine her nose.
"I don't think it's going to get small again until you tell your sister that you're sorry and give her a hug," I lied while fighting to keep a straight face.
Taylor sprinted down the stairs at once, sobbing the entire way. She flew into the kitchen at a dead sprint, practically tackling her sister with a desperate apology and a bear-hug. Sydney had by now forgotten that she was ever wronged in the first place and was, instead, in awe with the sense of urgency that concerned Taylor's nose.
Upon releasing Sydney from the hug, Taylor reached for her own nose and pinched it over and over again.
"Is it small yet???" she sobbed.
I leaned down to inspect her nose. I stood up, shook my head from side to side, and shrugged my shoulders.
"It looks like you were lucky this time. But, you better not lie anymore, Taylor. Do you understand me?" I threatened her.
She shook her head up and down and ran to me for a good cry and a tight hug. Again, I fought back the laughter. The whole scene was hilarious, but since I had just made a lying break-through, I couldn't let her in on the secret!
I'll bet for a whole month after that, Taylor didn't even dream about lying. When presented with the opportunity to lie, time would stand still and her whole face would turn white. And, even though she knew the truth would earn her a lecture or punishment, she certainly preferred that outcome as opposed to the dreadful thought of her nose growing again!
As time when on, she started to wisen up to the fact that maybe her nose wouldn't actually grow if she told a lie. She had to work hard to figure this out, though. If she told a joke, she would ask me if her nose was growing. If she wanted to play a trick on Daddy (like hiding from him so she could scare him) she would first verify with me that it wasn't going to make her nose grow. If she witnessed someone else lying, she would ask why their nose didn't get bigger. If I told her to pretend in any shape, form or fashion, I would have to convince her that it wouldn't cause her nose to grow.
As the panic of her nose growing started to fade, it caused Taylor to develop a "tell" for lying. Now, I can always tell when she isn't being honest with me, because she automatically pinches and rubs her nose when she's trying to get away with a lie. I usually give her a couple of chances to come clean, but if I want the truth, I merely have to look at her nose funny or ask if it's starting to feel bigger, and she can't help but tell the truth....just in case!
The other day, the kids were playing school in the family room while I was eavesdropping from the kitchen. Taylor was the teacher and she was reading a book to her students, Sydney and Gabriel. Because she can't yet read, she was making up the story as she went according to the illustrations. Fully aware that she was making up her own story, she would end every page with the phrase "just pretend." Growing frustrated with the repetition, Gabe couldn't take it anymore.
"Taylor," he said annoyed, "you don't have to say 'just pretend' at the end of every page. We know you're pretending."
"Yes, I do," she said, without ever dropping her teacher-voice.
"No, you don't!" he argued back.
Without skipping a beat, Taylor matter-of-factly chirped back, "Yes, I do so my nose don't grow. Now, listen up, class! (just pretend)"
So, whenever she even considers pretending, no matter what it may be (dress-up, house, school, etc.) she is sure to clarify her non-lying actions to the nose-growing gods to be sure they won't mistakenly cause her nose to grow.
It makes me chuckle every time. My favorite nickname for her when she is being silly is now "Princess Pinocchio." Every time I call her that, she stops, puts her hands on her hips, puckers her lips, and asks with an annoyed tone, "Why did you just call me that?"
I always respond with, "Because I think you are a funny girl."
And, because she likes to be funny, she concedes to a nickname that doesn't necessarily sit well with her.