“Never work with animals or children.” WC Fields

On Thursdays, we have a segment on the show called Ask Me Anything. Someone with a fascinating hobby or profession comes in and answers anything we and our listeners want to know about what they do. We’ve had a funeral director, a gun fanatic, a veterinarian, a former police chief and other interesting people. This week, I invited intuitive medium – psychic, if you like – Tania Thomas. She knew from the outset that I was a skeptic and she loves to talk about her work. But the result was unpredictable for another reason altogether. 

A few days prior, Tania let me know that she was looking after her granddaughter Ainsley, and asked if she could also come to the studio. “She’s four-years-old and really well-behaved.” What could I say? I didn’t want to risk losing Tania for the segment and it’s kind of fun to have a child in the room. Sure. Bring her in.

They arrived at the appointed time, Ainsley clutching her favourite stuffed animal. Ainsley is adorable and told me in a matter-of-fact way that her stuffy wasn’t alive, but her puppy and her two cats were. I asked her where she’d like to sit when grandma was on the radio: with us, where she would have to be very quiet, or with Ryan our producer where she could see us through the window and hear everything we said. She chose to watch us through the window. But when it came time to get settled, she looked upset.

“Do you want to sit with us instead?”, I asked. She nodded yes. So I sat her in the studio built for three, closest to me and across from Grandma. I reminded Ryan to keep her mic off and grandma mentioned one last time about staying quiet. With a nod of understanding from Ainsley, we started the live segment.

A few minutes in, I wasn’t sure what was happening except that it was clear that Ainsley was making noise and while I was speaking on air, Tania was making shushing motions. I stole a look to my left and saw the tell-tale protruding bottom lip and the start of quiet tears. Instinct kicked in to let listeners in on what was happening.

“We have Tonia’s four-year-old granddaughter in the studio with us and she’s not happy. What’s up honey?”

She had a painful hangnail and it was making her upset. “No problem”, I said on air. “I have band-aids. We’ll take care of it while grandma and I talk.” I asked Tonia another question and while she answered, I dug in my purse and found a couple of band-aids that looked comically huge compared to Ainsley’s tiny fingers. I applied one to the offending boo-boo, got a smile, and and a nod that everything was okay. I turned my attention back to my show.

Maybe two minutes later, there was a soft tap on my arm. Ainsley held out a finger on her other hand that had a bright red cuticle. I opened another band-aid and applied first aid again. All too quickly, the segment was over and I remember the little fingers better than I recall what was said. Tania’s professionalism carried us through as I zoned in and out of the conversation.

Little blond four-year-old girl holding up one middle finger and one pointer, both with bandaids on them

A short time after they left, Tonia tweeted to me this picture of Ainsley with a “thanks for averting my meltdown”! The fact that they’re middle fingers makes it all the more endearing. I’ve never experienced such an adorable distraction while I was on the air. WC Fields was wrong. I’ve had rescued Greyhounds, adoptable kittens and children of all ages in various studios with me and I’d rather be a person who chooses to dry the tears of an upset little girl, than to ignore her and go on with the show.

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