I bet you didn’t see this one coming, I’m thinking, as my precocious four-year-old daughter, E, my second born, bounces up to the man who I was hoping to become a new client. A father himself, he’s been dabbling in selling vegetables from his home garden and is looking to expand this hobby into a side business by getting a professionally designed label. I’d barely charge him anything for it. He suggested trading it for a box of produce this summer and throwing in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sounds more than fair to me.
“Hey! I bet you didn’t know that my mommy has testicles!”
The man looks at me. I nod my head, and say, “Why yes, yes, I do.”
The man raises his eyebrows. E notices his confusion. She’s used to having to explain what she’s talking about, because not all of her consonants come out right. For example, her “c” and “st” sound like “t,” so that both “star” and “car” sound like “tar.” So, she starts explaining why Mommy does indeed have testicles.
“You know, those things that the tid has, that makes white things on the whales?” E asks.
I translate. By “tid,” she means “squid,” and by “white things,” she means “scars.” Squids grab hold of the whales in their mighty battles for life and death, and the squid’s arms have hooks on them that tear the whales’ skin, which leave scars after they heal.
“Tentacles?” the man asks.
“Yeah! Testicles!” E says excitedly.
Tentacles. Testicles. There’s only a couple letter differences there.
The man asks why I don’t correct her. I do, but “testicles” is easier for E to say than “tentacles.” She just learned the word, after all.
At home, we had looked up information on squids on the computer together – studying photos and watching YouTube videos, listening to me read aloud various facts about the squid, acting out underwater life in our family room. On the drive up to meet the man, we were imagining that we were a family of squids. I was using my tentacles to protect my three baby squids from the perils of the ocean, including whales. Certainly it’s easy for me to switch gears from playing with my kids to working, but to E, I was still Mommy Squid even when talking about making a food label.
This post is part of the “Delicate Balance” series, which chronicles the juggling act of work-at-home attachment parent Rita Brhel.