Chips, Soup, Heart

On the card rive home from preschool, Blaisey, crunch crunch crunch, said, "You wanna know," crunch crunch crunch, "what my favorite part of," crunch crunch crunch, "veggie chips is?"

I said, "What's your favorite part of veggie chips, bubba?"

Crunch crunch crunch. "I like," crunch crunch crunch, "how veggie they are."

That's a good thing, I think, to like about something -- how very it it is.

So she was having a snack in the car, and then we were home and playing build-a-house-with-two-armchairs-an-umbrella-and-sixteen-stuffed-animals, while I cooked dinner. We had plans to play Super Mario Bros. 3 after we ate -- that always gives us something to look forward to: the hope that we might pass beat level 8 and get to the final boss. Just before dinner was ready, Blaisey asked what we were having. I said, "Taco soup."

She said, "I don't like taco soup."

"This," I told her, "isn't a restaurant."

"I know. But can I just have a chocolate heart instead?"

"No, you cannot."

"Hmmm. Okay." She shrugged. No harm in asking, I suppose. "Well, then, can I just have two chocolate hearts?"

I said, "No, you get taco soup. You get what you get."

She said, "And you don't throw a fit." Ha! You can train kids just like chimpanzees and giraffes. "Okay. Since I don't like taco soup, can I have a chocolate heart after I eat some."

I told her she could have a chocolate heart after dinner, but that I bet she would like the soup.

"I'll bet you're wrong," she told me.

After her second bowl of soup, I said, "See, you like the soup don't you?"

She put a finger on her chin and said, "Well, I like it good enough to get a chocolate heart."

After biting into the heart, she said, "Uh-oh, I think this heart has peanut butter in it."

Here we go again. "Bubba," I said, "you're not allergic to peanut butter."

"Daddy! Don't tell me what I'm not allergic to."

"But you're not." I tried to explain that just because someone in her school is allergic to peanut butter, doesn't mean she's going to be.

She said, "Daddy, I know that I'm not allergic to all peanut butters. Just the kinds that aren't like this one."

"What's the difference between this peanut butter and the kinds you're allergic to?" I had to ask.

"This one," she scientifically explained, "is wrapped in chocolate."

So, fellow allergy sufferers world round, if it makes you sneeze, swell up, or puff shut, just wrap it in chocolate. This spring's gonna be a totally different world: look out pollen baring trees.


Witness: The Beginning of a Career

Last night Blaisey and I got to watch Naomi's first ever basketball game -- she was awesome. She completed a fast break and hit a jump shot, which officially means, she's already outscored me up through my ninth grade year. I was always more of an assists guy, you know.

Meanwhile, Blaisey and I had just got out of school, so we sat underneath the hoop and shared animal crackers.

"What's this one look like?" She'd ask.

"Oh, an elephant, I guess."

Bite, chew chew chew. "Nope. It's an elephant without a trunk."

"What's this one look like?"

"That's a rhinoceros." I thought more confidence would be equally more convincing.

"Nope." Bite, chew chew chew. "It's a rhinoceros without a horn."

"What's this one look like?"

"A space alien."

"Dad, you're not playing right."

"Okay," I said, "a monkey?"

"That's not a monkey."

"Oh. A cat?"

"It's not a cat either."

"Is it a monkeycat?"

She shook her head slowly and reexamined the little animal. She said, "You know what, dad? That dog'll hunt." Bite, chew chew chew. "Too bad it's a monkeycat without any legs. You almost had it."

Bite, chew chew chew. "Now it's a monkeycat without any legs or a face." Bite, chew chew chew. "Or a tail." Bite, chew chew chew. "Now what do you think it is?"

"I guess it's just a monkeycat's belly."

"Dad," she said, shaking her head with disappointment, "it's just a belly. How could anyone know what kind of animal it belongs to?"

Naomi's team won 32-29 in a game that could have just as easily gone the other way. And I've pondered it enough -- this eternal question -- I'll turn it over to you all: how many things must one chew off an animal before it becomes simply a belly?