Tuesday, September 18, 2007

They Might Be Crazy, But it's My Brand of Crazy

Having a preschooler tell you he wants to eat your juicy innards may be unexpected for many, but it is just one of many running jokes in our family. At one point I made the threat of eating Big Dog's "juicy innards" and for whatever reason, it stuck. He either threatens to eat mine, or shrieks with mock terror as I threaten to devour his. Little Dog is in on this act too, he'll squeal "No INNARDS!" or the close 18 month old approximation of that, which is clear as day to anyone in our family. For the record, it sounds something like "No nin-nar!"
It doesn't stop there. We have fun making up nonsense directions or phrases. The latest to catch on is "No cows in the igloo!" Funny enough when it is said by Big Dog, but funnier still when Little Dog tries to wrap his mouth around it. "No ig-ga-lu-lu" with a funny poking out tongue. This simple nonsense phrase is enough to stop bad behavior in its tracks. Imagine a toddler, getting ready to pitch a tantrum, prompted by his older brother "No cows in the igloo!" He immediately needs to reply, and the tantrum is averted.

Sometimes I forget just how odd our family is. It is brought to my attention by the quizzical look of an outsider. This weekend Big Dog and I went to Trader Joe's to do the grocery shopping, as we were checking out, he refused to move aside so I could begin unloading the cart. I asked nicely a couple of times, and then resorted to very odd threats.
"Big Dog," I said, "If you do not move out of my way, I will be forced to nibble up your hand, and it is very hard to play with playdoh one handed."
He laughed, and stepped aside as I leaned down to make a false attempt to nibble his hand "Grum grum grum grum!"
As I leaned in for this, I noticed an older woman in the next check out lane looking on and smirking slightly. She wasn't judging so much, as looking on at our parent-child relationship with amusement. I guess I am not a super traditional mom after all.

Despite my inherent strangeness, I am wildly popular with the boys at Big Dog's preschool. They love to play a name calling game with me in which we say hello and good bye, but add a nickname that relates to a food item. For example "Well hello, Mr. Hamburger Bun!" which would receive the reply "Hi Mustard!" or something along those lines. This is hilarious to 4 year olds for some reason, and effectively ended the age guessing game they played earlier. (note, these children may appear as adorable moppets, but when one sees the pain in your eyes after saying "you're 45!" you realize they take joy in inflicting that same pain again and again.- for the record, I AM NOT 45!) One of the teachers at the preschool stepped in once and tried to stop the food-name game, but we have kept it going, just taking a special care when she is in the classroom. (She's a bit of a control freak, so she isn't so into my "class participation")

On occasion, at the end of the day, some of Big Dog's classmates beg to come home with us. I have found it effective to say "Oh yes, please do. We're having cat food and worms for dinner!", after they groan or reject that meal, I say "Really? You don't like that? After we eat our cat food and worms, we're going to roll around in the garbage! Want to come?" And that pretty much puts an end to that request.

I figure soon enough, this will all become far too embarrassing for Big Dog. He'll cringe when I come to pick him up at a friend's house. He'll have his fingers crossed, just hoping against hope that I won't make a lame joke, or try to "fit in" with his friends. But for now, he loves it and that's good enough for me.

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