This is long. I apologize, but it's a harried and complex back-story that is necessary.
We had a pretty crazy weekend with a 4.5 hour drive each way to visit family for less than 24 hours of actual visit time -- Great Grandma only turns 91 once, so it was worth it. We got back, underslept and overtired, just in time for Chuck to make his hockey game and for me to finish some work that needed to be done by end of day.
We walked in the house, and the dog uncharacteristically bolted up the stairs. Caroline followed.
"Caroline, what's Reuben doing up there?"
"Oh he's just chasin' the bird."
The bird? What bird?!
We have a very old house, so we usually get one annual visit from a bird and one annual visit from a chipmunk. No idea how either gets in, but it happens.
After the bird had been isolated in one room and escorted out the window courtesy of a broom, we got to work cleaning up the droppings and blood spatter (from repeatedly flying into every window in our house, apparently -- no idea how long it had been in the house with only the cats, though thankfully not long enough to become lunch for them and feathery remnants for us to clean up).
So, we were frazzled after this. Chuck left for hockey while I scrambled to finish up what I needed to do on my laptop. I was wrangling with stupid code for a while when Caroline began repeatedly asking for her toy cats' glasses (which I'd just put away to avoid losing them). Repeatedly.
I did a good job of remaining calm while explaining that I needed to finish my work, and reassured her that I would help her in a few minutes. I really did do a good job of this... the first 34 times she asked. Finally I said, "Caroline! Didn't I just tell you I would help you in a few minutes?"
She shook her head and said very earnestly, "Mama, you need to use your soft voice."
She is 100% serious when she does this, and it's not sassy at all, so it made me laugh. So I used my soft voice to remind her that I would help her in a while. She said "Okay!" and played alone for a bit.
3 minutes later, she made the same request for the cats' glasses.
I groaned and said "I am really needing to finish this! The more you ask me, the longer it will take! So just hold on a few minutes and then this crazy time will be over and I can help you!" Lots of !!!! all around.
She looked at me and asked, "Is that what 'nerbous breakdown' means?"