Thursday, July 7, 2011

Subterfuge

We've reached a milestone in our household. At age five and a half, Stella has reached a level of cognitive ability that makes it very difficult for us to hide things from her. Specifically, she has learned what we're referring to when we spell i-c-e c-r-e-a-m. THIS MEANS CRISIS!

Does this come in Chubby Hubby?
So now, instead of spelling out ice cream, David and I are using a substitute word and a wink-nudge when we want to refer to ice cream but don't want Stella to understand. That substitute word we have chosen is "kale." I'm serious about this. If Stella is around and I want to pitch the idea of going out for ice cream but not have her understand what I am talking about, I ask David what he thinks about "taking the kids out to get some kale." When Stella grows up, she is going to have a deep-seated, subconscious love of brassicas and not really know why.

Hey, I have a great business idea! What about starting a truck that drives around, plays music, and sells kale to kids?!?

Being circumspect around Stella is becoming more important because (1) she absorbs a lot of what David and I talk about without seeming to pay attention, and (2) she loves to talk to all sorts of people, including random strangers, and tell them all about her life. Boy, I sure don't know where she gets THAT tendency, said her mother, as she uses her blog to tell random strangers all about her life.

Here's an example of how Stella's love of telling all can lead to trouble. The other day, Stella told her swimming teacher that we had to drive to swimming lessons (rather than ride our bikes as we sometimes do) because "mama left her bicycle at the bar." That comment made me look bad in front of the swimming teacher, and I was especially embarrassed because it was untrue. What really happened is that I left my bicycle at...well, it was more like a bar that also sold food. Practically a restaurant. Totally different!

David and I have also started being more cautious in how we talk about other people in Stella's presence, as we don't want her to repeat our remarks, especially out of context. So sometimes we use subterfuge. Let's say, for example, that we are talking about a friend named Bill who got a particularly bad haircut. In our conversation about it, David and I would try to refer to this friend by the initial B, except that about half the time we would forget and call him "Bill, I mean B," fooling no one and dramatically increasing the chances that the next time Stella sees Bill she will tell him that her parents thinks his hair looks like it was cut by someone who is visually impaired. And who uses a weed whacker as her preferred styling tool.

Perhaps the lesson I should learn from all this is that if it's not okay for Stella to hear and repeat, perhaps I shouldn't be saying it. Maybe her getting older will help me learn to be more straightforward in my communication, and to not say unkind things about people when they're not around. We'll see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, I'm going to dig in the freezer and dip into my secret stash of cookie-dough kale.

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post. Still laughing out loud...

    Kale does happen to be my favorite vegetable. I'm going to have to think seriously about this kale/ice cream business. Given the awesomely long-producing life of each kale plant and the popularity of ice cream, I think I might just be able to make millions!

    Oh, and it helps that I know some dairy farmers too...

    :) Maggie

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed the subterfuge moments in your post. We've started referring to my mom as 1121 (that is her street number) instead of Grandma Sharon. In a nutshell, 1121 has a lot of "issues". We have a few years before Ian sees through it. And maybe we to should be a little more kind about 1121....but she makes it so easy.

    ReplyDelete