Every morning now as I prepare her breakfast, Booger asks me for “sumting elf.” Not a species of fairfolk, no, rather, two-year-oldese for “something else.”
So when it comes to food, a play destination, or outfits, I’m a magician with a hat, hoping to pull a rabbit or flying gerbil from the depths in an attempt to amaze and mystify her.
Offering choices, long the bane of parents everywhere, has not been the right course of action. Nothing satisfies her and her tone grows insistent with each rabbit. “No. Sumting Elf.”
Me, (tap dancing and doing the splits): How about this? (profferring a cracker)
Booger: No. Sumting. Elf.
Me: This? (balancing a chocolate cake on my head)
Booger: (with long-suffering sigh) NO. SUM. TING. ELFFFF.
Me: (pretending to pull a poop from my butt): Howzabout this?
Booger: Mama! S-u-m-t-i-n-g E-l-f.
It’s not good for my ego. Anything I give her is turned down, and right about the time I’m completely defeated and ready to start cutting off bits of my flesh for her rabid and fickle palate, she’ll usually go back to the first thing I offered her. “Toast.”
Really? I’ll say. Toast? Not the cake, the cereal, the applesauce, the soy cheese, the latte?
So then she’ll eat her toast, innocently, as if she weren’t the two-year-old ball of contradictions that she is, and soon she’s ready to get dressed.
And as I hold up her yellow cellophane romper with spaghetti suspenders, I’m not at all surprised to hear, “Not that, mama, Sumting Elf.”
Ah, existential angst. Not even the two-year-olds are spared.