Elephants for lunch
“Mary, is that pasta?”
“Yes, it is. Pasta for lunch.” In fact, it’s meatballs on egg noodles with a sour cream sauce. Nom. (The ‘meat’balls are in fact a meat-free veggie version, in deference to vegetarian Jazz.)
“Mary, is that pasta?” Grace echoes Jazz’s question. Grace is an echo-er. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s just annoying, and on the worst days, you wonder if the girl ever has an original thought in that pretty little head of hers. (On those days, the bad ones? The answer is a firm ‘no’. No, never, not a one.) Jazz is an echo-er, too, come to that, but it manifests a little differently. One day maybe I’ll remember to tell you all about that.
I hate answering mindless questions. I’ll answer obvious ones. Once. And I just did.
“I already answered that question. If you heard Jazz ask, you heard me answer. You tell me: Is that pasta?”
“Right. Now we all know.”
Now, I know these questions are simply a toddler’s way of making conversation. They talk in concrete terms about what is in their environment. They don’t really wonder if that stuff actually is pasta. They’re just making small talk.
“Mary, is that pasta?” (Jazz)
“Mary, is that pasta?” (Grace)
“We are having pasta for lunch? (Rory)
But I will tell you now that the endless repetition of the same BLOODY OBVIOUS question can drive me insane, some days. I usually answer it once. That seems only polite. Thereafter I’ll deflect, as I did with Grace, above. But when it just. won’t. stop???
“Mary, that is pasta for lunch?” (Rory)
“No, Rory. No, it’s not. It’s a bowl full of elephants.”
“Yes, we’re having elephants for lunch.”
And I don’t know if the universe knows I’ve been pushed about as far as I can go without cracking up entirely. Maybe I’ve puzzled the children enough so they don’t know what to say next. Or they’ve decided I’m crazy, and it’s best not to provoke the crazy lady. Maybe they’re just finally hungry enough to eat those damned elephants… But, for whatever reason…
no one argues.
No one even asks,
“We are eating elephants for lunch?”
They just eat.
It is enough.