Well, it seems that I have a reason now to work harder - actually three reasons. My kids have a nasty habit of hearing people's word choices and repeating them. This doesn't just go for me - but for all people they see. Oh, and the television. I never realized the minefield that Peanuts television specials were until my kids starting going around calling each other "Blockhead" and saying how "stupid" things were - or my son telling a kid at school that he was going to "slug" her. (Yes, HER. Don't worry. We had a NICE chat about that one.) Funny how they weren't quick to memorize Linus' recitation of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.
Yesterday, I had an experience with this AGAIN - this time with my four year old daughter, Natalie. I was sitting on the couch trying to get some work done, and she came traipsing in to see me. Actually, she wanted to see the bowl of candy sitting on the piano. "Daddy, can I have one of these little candy canes?" My ears perked up. Candy? Here? Ooooo. So I looked over to the piano and saw a little bowl of mini candy canes. Immediately I remembered that Heather had told me the other day she had bought fruity candy canes. Even better. I hate those peppermint ones.
Now my brain was in full planning mode. I could accomplish two of my huge goals in life - not getting up and scoring candy. So, I tossed a question out to determine how best to get myself some sweet treats. "What kinds are there, Nat?" She just looked at me, and in her not-sweetest tone replied, "What?" I knew she had no clue, so hollered into the other room to Heather. "What flavors of candy canes are these?" Heather called back, "Um, I think there is pineapple, apple, watermelon, and grape."
[Taking a moment here, let me explain why the upcoming exchange happened. When it comes to hard candy, I am pretty picky. I know that you may not believe it by looking at me. You would think I will eat just about anything that comes close to my face. But that isn't true. I am very picky about hard candy flavors. I like cherry and orange and lemon - most of the time. I HATE Jolly Ranchers and all their iterations. I used to love Life Savers - especially the Five Flavors pack. It had Cherry, Orange, Lemon, Lime, and Pineapple - which was always tolerable, but the fifth best flavor. And I H-A-T-E apple, green apple, sour apple AND watermelon. Those are the two worst flavors to me. Grape is merely passable - and I would have to be jonesing for candy bad to eat it. Back to the tale.]
So Heather calls with the flavors. "Um, I think there is pineapple, apple, watermelon, and grape." Immediately I call back to her, "Oh, so just sucky flavors." Natalie is standing right by me and looks at me with her big bright eyes, "So can I have one of these sucky candy canes?" I am stunned and now am trying to figure out how to fix this. Before I can speak, she continues. "Look, I can have this sucky pink one right here." My brain is trying to get my mouth to get to work, "FIX THIS! FIX THIS!" I stutter, "Uh, Daddy shouldn't have said that, Nat. Don't use that word." She has unwrapped the candy cane and has it in her mouth.
"Look, Dad, I'm sucking on it. It IS a sucky candy cane. I love sucky candy canes." And she skips out of the room. I just stare at the floor and wait for the door to get busted down by the Southern Baptist Convention. At least Gabe can't understand me yet - the other two are doomed.
[That last comment was a joke. Gabe is doomed too. He just doesn't know it yet.]