“Spectitute!” She said confidently, “You know, it was a ‘Spectitute Teacher'”.

I was in the middle of brushing Clara’s teeth when I had made the mistake of asking her about her class at church tonight. So, now I was getting a frothy narration about her day intermixed with a few wide mouth invitations for brushing.

“Where did you learn that word?” I asked while I gently brushed between the gap in the front of her bottom row of teeth.

She pulled away again and smiled. “Would you like to know a secret about me?” She grinned and pointed an index finger at her head. “Okay,” she glanced back and forth quickly and then continued in a quiet voice, “I listen to people when they are talking, and sometimes I hear them say words I don’t know. And then…” Her eyes glistened mysteriously and she leaned in and said even softer, “…and then I learn them.” Immediately her mouth opened wide for more brushing while she held the same intense eye contact.

“Oh wow,” I said, ducking to examine a top molar. “That’s cool. It is like a superpower. A very practical one too. Not really something you can use to fight crime, but probably better.”

She smiled around the brush and nodded it out of my hand. I scrambled to catch it before it fell on the floor when her mouth reopened.

“So, what does ‘Spectitute’ mean?”

She wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her pajamas and thought for a moment. “Well, you know ‘Spectitute’. It’s like, something that is unexpected. Like a spectitute teacher. They are someone that shows up when you were expecting your regular teacher.”

“Huh.” I was stunned for a few seconds while she smiled confidently, “Clara, you really are a superhero.”

She jumped in excitement and victoriously poked at me, “I told you!”

“Okay,” I held up the brush again, “Now, say EEEE!”