Friday, July 24, 2020

Faux cuss and leftover vegetables

For the past little while Alexander has been using the word "vegetable" in a quizzical way. It certainly sounds like he's saying vegetable, a rather complicated word to pronounce, but when he says it he doesn't mean vegetable, and we couldn't figure out what he meant by it (a frustrating thing for everyone involved).

Sometimes at the dinner table he would suddenly turn to me and announce, "I want to be a vegetable."

At first the kids thought he wanted to play a silly game where he lifts his shirt up over his head and says, "Rawr! I'm broccoli!" because sometimes he does that, but he honestly doesn't understand the classification of vegetable yet and doesn't understand that broccoli is a vegetable. He loves broccoli and calls it broccoli. He loves cauliflower and calls it cauliflower. He loves carrots and calls them carrots. Mostly he loves California mix vegetables; can't get enough of that stuff. But he enjoys other vegetables, too—cucumbers and tomatoes and peas and things. He doesn't know about vegetables but he knows about broccoli and celery and tomatoes. And that wasn't what he meant either.

He didn't mean a silly game and he didn't mean that he wanted more vegetables. We simply didn't understand him.

Sometimes he would bring me a snack he was working on—an apple or granola bar or bowl of yogurt—and would say, "I want to be a vegetable."

"You...want to be a vegetable?" I would ask him.

"No. I want this to be a vegetable!"

And I never could quite figure out what he meant. He didn't want any offering of vegetable in place of whatever food he was holding. It didn't make sense, but he just kept asking for it anyway.

We rehashed this conversation over a granola bar the other day.

"Mom, I want to be a vegetable," he announced, walking into the kitchen from the dining room.

"You want to be a vegetable?" I asked him.

"No. I want this to be a vegetable."

"You want that to be...a vegetable?"

"No," he said. "I want this to be a vegetable."

"That is a granola bar," I informed him. "If you wanted a vegetable you should have chosen a vegetable."

"I don't want a vegetable. I want this to be a vegetable."

"That cannot be a vegetable," I told him.

Alexander hung his head in sorrow.

"Sorry, buddy," I said. "But that's a granola bar. I'm not a sorceress. I can't magically change a granola bar into a vegetable."

"Ummmm, Mom?" Rachel interrupted our well-rehearsed dialogue. "I think he's saying leftover. He doesn't want to finish it."

"Oh!" I said. "Oh, is that what he's been saying? That makes a lot more sense! Is that what you're saying, baby—you want that to be a leftover?"

"Yeah," he said, a smile brightening up his face. "Can I just finish it later? Then it can be a vegetable!"

"Sure," I told him. "You can save the rest of your granola bar for later. It can be your leftovers."


Benjamin had gotten up from the dinner table for some reason.

To yell and run around mid-bite? That sounds about right, though I'm still unclear on his reasoning.

"Sit down, eat your dinner," the family began coaxing. "Breathe. Focus. Focus. Focus."

"Sam's hill. Where in tarnation? Shoot. Darn it all to heck," Andrew said.

We all turned our attention to Andrew and stared at him, blinking slowly, mouths agape.

"Faux cuss!" Andrew shouted the punchline like it was the best thing he'd said all day.

And perhaps it was the best thing he'd said all day.

We, uh, don't get out much anymore...

But, in all honesty, I appreciate a good pun and that was a good pun. I'm always a little shaken when people don't appreciate (my) humour (or humour at all). Like, Ma in The Little House in the Prairie was always getting after Charles for his puns and I'm reading that like, "You leave Pa alone! Let him have his puns!" And then I was watching Indian Matchmaking (because my friend Crystal started talking about it and my sister Josie was watching it—don't jump off of a cliff, guys, okay? Thanks) and one of the girls on the show (Aparna) says flat-out that she's not interested in a sense of humour. Like, that she doesn't care if her future spouse has a sense of humour (in fact, she'd prefer that they not have one) and can laugh things off (or laugh through things). And I'm pretty sure my face matched the matchmaker's face when she said that. Like...what?

Why would you not want someone who can make you laugh?

I don't get it. But that's okay.

There's a lid for every pot...or something like that.


  1. It took me a while to get the faux cuss!! Ahahahaha.

  2. Wasn't thaf rediculous when she said that. Oh Aparna...doesn't want to be married to someone who other people like 🙄