So I take the Golden Weasel to pick up the pizza. She's delighted, because she's delightful, as am I, and because the pizza joint gives out little things of cookies to little kids. She chats nonstop the whole way home, nomming cookies as she does. As soon as we get in the house, she goes to throw the cookies wrapper away.
Instantly, the Brawn appears. "What is that?" he asks in a tone that makes it clear he knows it was some sort of Very Tasty Taste Sensation and that he had had none of it.
The Golden Weasel begins to hem and haw, a very, very unusual response for her. "It was cookies," I say bluntly.
They both look at me in surprise. "They give them to kids who never, ever fuss and are always cheerful," I explain. "Your sister hasn't fussed in years, so she gets cookies."
Her other sisters come in the kitchen. "The Rose here, for instance. She hasn't fussed in nearly three years, so every single night, she gets cookies."
The expression on Rose's face makes it clear this is news to her.
The Brawn looks astonished by this information. His face begins to cloud over, until he realizes that a Cloudy Face is not a Cheerful Face and he struggles.
"Dude," I say. "Has Rose fussed even once in the past three years?"
He shakes his head, then stops. "Yes," he says slowly. "She has."
"Exactly," I say. "I was just teasing. She doesn't really get cookies every night. She only wishes she did."
She confirms the accuracy of this statement. I then add, "The Weasel, on the other hand, really hasn't fussed in years. But she still doesn't get cookies every night."
Her big sisters are looking at me like I'm insane. "What?"
"She fusses all the time."
"She does not."
"She does so. She fusses every day."
"Yes. If we're drawing together and I get up to do something else, she gets all upset and makes that face."
"You know, that face."
"Oh," I say. "I didn't know."
And I didn't. I later relate the story to Top Management.
"Of course you haven't seen her in anything but a good mood," she patiently explains. "You're not the one who makes her do her math or clean the patio. You're the one who gives her cookies."