I just got back from a three-week cruise through the Panama Canal with my mom.
As a precaution, Mom and I set up a code word "Hippopotamus" which we were allowed to say at any time during the cruise to tell the other one to just walk away, no questions asked, no offence meant or taken. It meant "I need space" or "you're embarrassing me" or "I don't want to argue, so please just walk away for a while."
We never actually needed to use it, though there was one night when a couple of my new friends and I were talking in the library waiting for another friend to join us for the evening show. Mom came up and I asked her why she wasn't already in the lounge, since she had said at dinner that she wanted to sit up front where she could see the show, while I was planning to sit in the balcony with friends. Mom asked, "is this a Hippopotamus situation?" I laughed and said "not really, but uh, sure... Hippopotamus?" She chuckled and excused herself to go find a seat. Jeff and Allie looked at my quizzically, so I explained the Hippopotamus code word to them.
Moments later Jeff bought himself a vitamin water and his sister reached for it, wanting a sip.
"No! Hippopotamus! HIPPOPOTAMUS!! HIPPOPOTAMUS!!!!!!!" shouted Jeff as he tried to keep the bottle out of Allie's reach. We all laughed.
Mom later told me that several times in the following days she could have sworn she heard someone softly say "Hippopotamus" but as I was nowhere to be seen, she thought she had imagined it. I'm pretty sure it was Jeff being a brat.
* Most of this was from an email I sent the other day. I realized it was a cute and funny moment and figured I'd share it with the rest of you too.
** Please, feel free to whisper "Hippopotamus" if you run into mom. ;)