Thus it was that, as we were about to start dinner, we looked at the calendar on the fridge and saw that today was marked cryptically with "What Happens in the Fall?" "What the heck is that?" Angela murmured to me. "Beats the heck out of me," I replied under my breath.
As we sit down, Xan has already started taking out the offending elements from his rice. An aside here: I can't believe the food pickiness has finally begun. "I don't like mushrooms," Xan declared as I put down his plate, which had a nice dollop of brown rice mixed with mushrooms and onions. "Since when?" I said to him, since I've seen him eat them with gusto before, and since he said it in the same tone he uses when he wants to be obstinate. ("No, I don't want to go to school!" "Xan, you love school." "No, I don't like school." "Do you like cookies?" "No, I don't like cookies." I have actually had this conversation. Indeed, I have a variation of this every time I try to get out of the door in the morning.) Rather than fight this battle tonight, Ange and I quickly de-mushroomed his rice; after all, more 'shroom for me! "And I don't like onion," he said. "Oh no, Mama and Dad took all the mushrooms out, you have to take care of the onions." Luckily, this time, he took this as fair and proceeded to do so. This is what he was doing when we sat down.
"So," Ange turns to Xan loudly, "what happens in the fall?"
Suddenly, a little face brightened immeasurably. If you know of my son's cute sing-songy voice, please apply your memory of it to the following. The reply was brimming with happiness.
"In the fall," he declared, "the leaves fall from the trees."
Holy crap, I thought. That's right. Jeez, are they actually teaching him something over there? Angela and I looked at each other, quite impressed with school.
"And in the fall," he kept going, "the rain falls on the leaves and then the leaves fall from the trees."
Why, yes, I thought, that's also true. Not to mention that fact that I'm actually hearing a comma there. He's even recognizing the use of the dependent clause!
Ain't no stopping him now. Still happy as can be: "And in the fall, the leaves are green and yellow and red and orange and brown."
Wow, that's really goo-
"And in the FALL, the cars go zoom-zoom very, very fast."
Ange and I look at each other quizzically since we hear about cars that do this every day, not just in the fall. OK. Well, I suppose that could happen in the fall, but-
"And in the FALL, the juice comes down from the trees and splashes me in my face and in my mouth."
Blink. What the he-
"And in the FALL, the rain comes and the trucks with mushrooms and the kids turn over I play with the water and get very very wet but not with a diaper."
By this point, I'm hiding the fact that I'm laughing hysterically at the gibberish that is clearly happening in the fall. Angela is doing her best to smile-and-nod because he is directing all this to her since she asked the question. She, too, is losing it.
This went on for -- and this is not hyperbole -- about 10 minutes, with a flurry of statements all beginning very forcefully (but cheerfully) with "In the fall, . . ." with about half the statements making perfect sense and the other half scripted by pre-Mexican Luis Buñuel. It was brilliant.
I almost can't wait to see what will happen in a couple weeks, when the calendar says they'll be talking about the "Gray Squirrel."