While out walking the dog late this afternoon I saw a little four-year-old girl wearing a beautiful green Christmas dress with a red bow on it. She was getting out of the car with her Dad, coming home from daycare I guess.

This was the same little girl I’d seen one morning a week or two ago, getting into the same car with her Dad. That morning she was wearing an elf costume, and was delighted to show it off for me.

So today I said to her, “Don’t you look pretty!” The dog, meanwhile, wanted to say hello, so I took a step or two slowly toward the girl and her father, keeping an eye on the situation.

This time, the girl was not delighted. Her face slowly started to crumple, and she clutched for her Dad’s leg and started to wail. So I backed away.

I don’t think she was afraid. I think she had just had a busy day, with a lot of stimuli and was overwhelmed.

“Kid,” I wanted to say. “A lot of the time I feel just like that.”