It all went down in the grocery store. As usual, I was in a hurry. It was lunch time, the boys had already followed me through Walmart without any major incidents, and I needed to get them home and fed and get the Little Man down for his nap on time. Luckily one of the shopping carts with the steering wheels was available, and I love those, because although they are a pain to push around the store (anyone else knock things over and run into other shoppers with those giant car-carts? I spend at least half of my shopping trip apologizing!) my boys are usually entertained while I shop.
Near the last aisle of the store, a few needed items in our cart, I was talking to myself more than to them, and I said, “I can’t remember what I need. Was it hot dogs? No, I don’t think so…”
Without missing a beat, my five year old says, “You already got the hotdogs, stup…” and as if the Lord God himself sealed my child’s mouth as he did with the lions before Daniel, my son stopped himself from completing the word “stupid.”
Suddenly our rolling buggy came to a screeching halt in the freezer section, right in front of the popsicles. I know he wasn’t being hateful. He was being absentminded, and without thinking, just about called his mama stupid.
My eldest son has a penchant for testing the boundaries, but when the “evil eye” shows up, even he starts to quiver in his Lightning McQueen shoes. I was about to start my scolding speech about appropriate words, with my warnings and methods of punishment all ready to be threatened and dispersed when he stopped me again.
“Oh,” he said in response to my gaze. “I was, uh…just, uh, calling myself a silly bowl of chicken noodle soup.”
I pursed my lips, attempting to hide my laughter. I didn’t want to laugh. I really tried hard not to, but I was a miserable failure. I usually don’t laugh at his excuses, but this one was pure genius. “Soup” being the only word he could think of that sounded even remotely close to “stupid”, he tried to dig himself out of the giant hole he had fallen into.
Thankfully, I was able to control myself enough to create a meager teachable moment, but I did a lot of fake coughing on the way to the checkout. You’ve got to admire the kid’s ability to tap-dance his way out of a sticky situation. Chicken noodle soup heals everything.