Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How to Tell When Your Kids Are Actually Yours

Two things happened tonight around dinnertime that made me proudly think, "Yes! Yes, Yes Yes! These kids are actually mine!"

The first happened when Tonya was making dinner. She was heating up some leftover lentil stew that's been in the freezer for several weeks. Now, this is a very piquant curry lentil stew, that's a dark brown-green in color (brown from the lentils, green from the curry), which Tonya had unintentionally spiced to the high heavens. (She'd put in a whole bunch of black pepper on the theory that black pepper is a mild spice--which it is, in small doses--and then put in a dollop of crushed red pepper for effect.)

(Tonya: "Well, it had an effect....")

Tonya and I thought this stuff was excellent, especially mixed with jasmine rice (to cut the flame just a little bit). However, it looks a little, um... er.... exotic. Imagine a big bowl filled with heaps of very high-viscosity lumpy green-brown blobs.

So my five-year-old wanders into the kitchen, and takes one look at the high-viscosity lumpy green-brown blobs, and immediately decides, "It's not what's for dinner." And she says, in a very serious, important-sounding, clearly enunciated five-year-old voice:
It looks like something that was rejected by Calvin.
I realize I should punish her for saying things like that about Mommy's cooking, but by Bacchus, she's right. I immediately started thinking of the Calvin and Hobbes strip where the food on Calvin's plate stood up and started doing the Hamlet soliloquy ("To be or not to be, that is the question!") while Calvin looked on aghast. (As I recall, after the soliloquy was done, the food took a quick breather, and then launched into a chorus of "Feeeeeelings...." whereupon Calvin actually ate the stuff to put it out of its misery.)

Needless to say, I couldn't look at the stuff after that without dissolving into a fit of giggles.


Which brings us to the other item. The Happy Boy can't talk yet, being only fourteen months old; but he's actually pretty good at communicating to us what he likes and what he doesn't like. (And he's starting to make word-like noises for his favorite foods: "Gra Cra" for Graham Cracker, and "Chok" for Chocolate. He loves chocolate.)

He's also developed into a bit of a picky eater--no doubt related to the fact that we've been feeding him enough chocolate that he can nearly pronounce it. Anyway, he's at the stage where he follows the standard toddler eating algorithm:
  1. Scan the dinner table for the most appetizing item present on anybody's plate.
  2. Demand that item, and only that item, until there's no more left.
  3. Go back to 1. Repeat until full.
Well, he'd gotten to the point where he didn't want anything we were giving him. But he was looking at these interesting green blobs on my plate, and waving his arms about like a trying-to-be-airborne duck. So I decided, what the heck? and put a small glob of the odd viscous stuff on the end of my fork. I let him take a bite....

...And he rolled it around in his mouth for a bit, and felt it with his tongue...

...And then started flapping his arms again. So, I gave him another bite, and another...

...And about this point, his ears began to turn beet red. And then his nose and his cheeks did too. And then his whole scalp did (still visible under that thin blond hair, which I still think looks like spun glass). Still he kept wanting more and more, even as his head progressively started resembling a giant radish. Even his eyes started to get red and runny, and still he wanted more.

Now that's my boy. :-)


Jennifer in OR said...

"It looks like something that was rejected by Calvin." Well, at first, I thought you had a little theologian on your hands, and she was referring to John Calvin, and the food must have looked suspiciously worked and not at all sovereign, thus she wholeheartedly rejected it. :-)

Timothy Power said...

Yes, our five-year-old's rejection of the food was clearly foreordained.

I'm curious to see what will happen when we finally teach her about the Protestant Reformation. We'll be teaching her "Calvin Taught This" and "Calvin Did That", and she'll be imagining Spaceman Spiff the whole time.

marshymallow said...

;o) It took my dad quite a while to convince me that Calvin was named after John, and not the other way around...