I just can’t help it, my children ask a perfectly sensible question – e.g. ‘what’s for dinner?’ and I’m compelled to give them a very silly answer like ‘cabbages, snails and frog gravy…’. The kids are somewhat wise to this now and tend to double-check with their dad – I sense in years to come they’ll probably not grace my answers with much more than a shrug but yet I persist.
Cabbages are now code in our family for food you might not like (I managed at least 2 years of claiming chocolate was cabbages before they got suspicious and paid more attention to what I was eating). I’ve added snails and frogs recently as cabbages (no offense to those who eat the foul things) didn’t seem quite, well, gross enough any more.
The silly answers extend to questions about what, exactly, has gone into the food we serve the children. R made some sausage rolls for Eli’s birthday party on the weekend and we had some chipolata sausages left over that we cooked for dinner that night. Tilly took one look at what was on her plate, prodded it with a fork and did a typical kid ‘what. is. this?’. In error she asked me, ‘worms’ I said. ‘From the garden. It’s been raining and you know how they all come to the surface so they don’t get drowned?’ (useful to chuck in a quick science lesson if you can), ‘well Daddy thought they were looking particularly juicy so, ta da!’. ‘Mmm’, says R, ‘it’s worms, enjoy!’.
Lex, full of 6 years of knowledge says, ‘No it isn’t, it’s sausages!’, and starts scoffing his dinner. This reassures Tilly a bit but still, she can’t be 100% sure until I confirm it. ‘Tell the truth Mummy, it’s not really worms?’. ‘Well’, says her compelled to be silly mother, ‘it could be worms or it could just be the sausages left over from the sausage rolls.’. This is apparently not enough reassurance and I put her out of her misery and confirm her brother’s answer (eventually).
Honestly, it’s really entertaining coming up with inventive (and mainly disgusting) descriptions for everyday things – ketchup tonight became squashed tomato snails (Lex will apparently be using Google tomorrow to double-check that I am talking nonsense about the existence of tomato snails). I do try to do it in a way that the kids will find funny – not scary – and encourage them to question and not just accept, without thought, whatever adults tell them. The look on their face before the realisation that it’s just mum being, well mum, is pretty priceless though.