Sometimes, I am surprised by how smart kids are; I shouldn't be, but I am. For example: Nikki Dee, who is still several months away from her third birthday, has surprised me twice recently, basically over the same meal served several days apart.
I had prepared tuna casserole when she visited last week. I thought it seemed like a good idea because she loves it, but then I thought again and realized that she actually loves her mother's version. Knowing that my recipe was different, I was fearful that if we called it tuna casserole, she might be dismayed by the different taste of my rendition of this standby recipe. Therefore, because I am exceedingly clever, I decided to tell her that the dish was called noodle boops. In the event, however, she took one look at the dish and declared that it was tuna casserole, and no amount of proclamation on our parts could shake her conviction.
As it turned out, she didn't like my dish no matter what we called it: I think because it contains crunchy celery and pepper as opposed to her mother's mushy peas.
Yesterday,when she visited once again, we had enough leftovers to try the dish one more time. Once again, she surprised me by declaring at the get go that she didn't want any boops. Why she would recall that name, when she had originally insisted that it had been tuna casserole and not boops, is beyond me. But it does give one pause to realize just how much kids absorb and retain. Whatever her name, she wanted nothing to do with those cursed boops even though we had thought to remove the crunchy bits. Fortunately, after much futile cajoling, we were able to sneak a bit into her open mouth, and as she chewed she figured the boops were now okay and happily consumed the rest of the dish.
The point, however, is my surprise at what she is able to absorb and retain at her tender age, and I think that I had best be careful about what I say from now on. After four decades of sailing The Seven Seas under The Jolly Roger, it will be difficult for me to give up my sailorish manner of speech, but I guess I'll have to try.