While carrying my daughter, I envisioned a future of pink, lacy frilliness and demure, ultra-girly-girlness. She is almost three now. While there is plenty of pink, it’s more like hot pink Barbie lipstick smeared haphazardly on her cheeks while she dances a funky solo on top of her picnic table wearing nothing but her boots and the “fav-rit” shirt she outgrew two seasons ago. And the way she expresses herself? Bless her heart, she is chronically demure-deficient.
Several days last month she responded to the breakfast menu with a panicky “please not poopy toast!” I readily admit it’s hit-or-miss in The Other Such Kitchen. But I’ve never served anyone anything ‘poopy.’ Ever. Well, yet, anyway.
Around the fourth day of her protests, I realized she meant poofy. She had connected the oven’s poofing of the cheese slice with it browning, which looks like dirt. And while she has no qualms about eating a handful of yard dirt, she didn’t want it on her toast. Fair enough. No poopy toast for her.
At least “please” prefaced her weird request. So much better that example of manners than the afternoon I rolled our grocery cart into line behind a 6’4” friendly grandfatherly type, and she, looking him in the eye, cheerfully instructed “excuse me, little man!”
This past Sunday, en route to church, from the back seat I heard “chicken butt!” followed by belly laughs. In the house in which I was raised, there were heinies, bottoms and bobos. I may have a butt now, but I didn’t then. There were no butts, except, of course, for but.
I ignored her the first time. Second time, too. The third time, fearing she wasn’t going to let go of the phrase before we arrived at church, I had to ask where she had heard it. “Goofy! He’s so silly!” I argued that Goofy doesn’t say that; she insisted otherwise. (I’ve since learned she is correct.)
In the car that morning, we had our first talk about words little girls don’t say. In the church bathroom, our second and third talks. In the church pew, our fourth. Then a newborn in front of us started fussing and she was suddenly distracted with loudly shushing the baby. As soon as the little ones were dismissed for children’s church, I took to fervently praying that she wouldn't share her poultry anatomy humor with her friends.
Later that same afternoon, while I tried to continue the lesson about ‘nice’ and ‘not nice’ language, she interrupted me with, well, a loud passage of gas. (In the house in which I was raised, there were no f-a-r-t-s, either. Even now, I can’t spell it without dashes. Momentarily, I’ll be sending my mother an apology.) After which, her announcement: “ ‘Scuse me! I tooted!”
And so I handed her the Barbie lipstick, boots, and her favorite shirt and opened the back door. And followed her. It may not be frilly and ultra-girly, but I wouldn’t miss the matinee performance for anything.