"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Strawberry Shitcake

It was a special dinner. Special because Uncle Will and David were joining us and special because, for the first time ever today, I found dairy-free whipped cream in a can. I brought it home and gave Evan his first-ever mouthful of straight-from-the-can whipped cream and, after a thoughtful moment, he reported: "That's pretty good! I like it!" And so, it was decided:

Strawberry shortcake for dessert!

We made it through dinner, barely. The kids were hyped up because we had company, overtired from a busy and nap-less weekend, and (one of them was) grumpy because the chicken was grilled, which He Does Not Prefer. But, everyone tried a bite of everything on their plates and we were ready for dessert.

Max was the most excited. Being a Future Baker, he loves all things sweet and delicious. But "Strawberry Shortcake?" In addition to being a tasty treat, that's also the name of one of the berry cutest girls in all of Netflix! He was eager to help me plate and serve the desserts.

As he waited for me to top the second shortcake with whipped cream, he started to become overly excited. Uncontrollably excited. In an ill-fated effort to contain all of the anticipation of deliciousness that was bursting from him, he began sing-babbling:

"Shortcake, shortcake, strawberry shortcake!" he began, practically dancing in place as he watched me spoon the sugared strawberries onto the next shortcake.

"Short-shit-shortcake, strawberry shortcake!" he continued. As I sprayed a nice heaping dollop of whipped cream on top, I wondered, did he just.....? But when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Will and David exchange Did You Hear That? glances, I knew that he had, in fact said what I thought he did.

But I didn't say anything. He was, after all, just babbling.

"Short, short, shitcake, strawberry shitcake!"
I bent down low so our eyes met "Shortcake," I corrected, hiding my smile. "Strawberry shortcake." Over his head, I could see David stifling a laugh. Will's back was to me, but I knew he was, too.

"SHITcake!" he said again, with emphasis.
"SHORTcake," I, again, corrected, before immediately turning my back to him to hide my laughter.

"Mommy, what is shitcake?" he asked, wondering why I kept correcting him.
"That's not a nice word, Max," I said.
"What? Shit? Shit's not a nice word? Why isn't shit a nice word?"

I tried. I tried really hard. But there's something really hilarious about an earnest little kid, looking you straight in the eye and saying shit over and over and over again....

Biting the side of my cheek to keep from laughing, and seeing Will and David's shoulders shudder with silent, "hidden" laughter, I tried to be the adult in the room: "It's just not something we say. If someone outside of our family and outside of this house heard you say it, they might think you were using a disrespectful word."

"Oh, okay," my sweet boy said. "Are you...? Are you crying, Mommy?"
I was. I was crying because it was so damn hard not to burst out laughing, right in his face.
"No, baby. I'm just [snort!]...it's just [cough!]...it's just not something we should say..."

"But why?" chimed in a voice from behind me. Evan, always tuned in, was curious.

"It's a..." I didn't want to call it a "bad word." I didn't want to over-hype its intrigue. But clearly, from my laughter-repressing tears, to my inability to form words without choking back a guffaw, I was doing a terrible job. So, without a second thought, I just threw it out there: "It's a disrespectful way to say 'poop,' and if other people outside of our home heard you use it, they might be offended."

There was a brief moment when both boys just looked at me, with a twinkle in their eye, a little surprised to hear their mom say "poop" while spooning strawberry shortcake onto dessert plates.



Evan thought he might as well try it out, seeing as how Max got to.

And we all lost it.

It wasn't funny.

But it was so, so funny.

David excused himself to gain control in another room.

Will bent his head low to the table to unsuccessfully hide his fit of hilarity.

I turned my back as I regained my composure.

As I turned back to face him, wiping a tear from my eye, he said, "But we're inside our home! What? Are you offended?"

Lesson Learned:

So I guess I didn't handle our first official "Appropriate Words" conversation very well.

But, man, that strawberry shitcake was delicious.


  1. I'm crying, myself, as I read this. Oh those moments.

    We've have categorised swear words in three levels. Level has "arse", "damn", and so on. Level 2 has "shit", "bugger", "bollocks" (it's an English thing). Level three has only two words in it.

    If one comes out that we haven't heard them use before, we caution them by telling them which level it is on. Level 1 will get them a stern look; level 2 and they're asked not to use them in the house (or at all, for that matter). Deliberate use of the one level 3 they know will bring Trouble.

    Oh, and the time, during spellings practise, that our eldest mis-spelled "couldn't". Tears were shed. Photographs were taken to preserve the moment. I still haven't told him why it was so funny. It's these wonderful moments that you carry with you for the rest of your life.

    Glad you enjoyed the shitcake. Can you share the recipe?

  2. And while I'm babbling, I'll mention that my parents visited just before Easter and I decided to share a pair of jokes with them. At the dinner table.

    Why do monkeys paint their balls red?
    So they can hide in cherry trees.

    and the follow-up

    What's the loudest sound in the jungle?
    Elephants picking cherries.

    J spent the next hour crying with laughter, partly with the joke and partly because his dad had actually said it out loud. Golden moments.