Oh, nuts!

Why is it that when your child is telling a never ending story and he’s sitting one foot away from you, he’s yelling. But when you ask him a question, he’s whispering and mumbling his way through until you shout in exacerbation, “For crying out loud SPEAK UP! I can’t understand you.” You might have a good idea unless you were gifted the perfect offspring who use their proper indoor voice and enunciate their words each and every time. Since our family falls in line with the more commonly flawed, we are struggling lately to find a happy medium with our oldest. Often reminding him that we’re right here or else advising with irritation that he needs to speak up. And as the universe would have it, I completely got a taste of this very parenting medicine the other day.

Our daughter was recently diagnosed with a peanut allergy, after suffering an alarming reaction to something that had simply touched peanut oil. A trip to the ER and a follow up visit to do some blood testing confirmed my fears. So the other day I was explaining the Epi-pens and the scheduled visit she has lined up to see a pediatric specialist for further nut allergy testing. I noticed that for most of the conversation he was staring at me with a concerned look on his face. Which seemed appropriate since he loves his little sister very much and was worried when he found out she would have to get poked by a couple needles. I wasn’t bothered by his look until a period of time went by and he still hadn’t said anything. I finally asked him if something was wrong. He looked at me…looked away…then looked at me again and whispered, Mom, why is Maelyn allergic to penis?? Oh my goodness. WHAT?!?!?! I probably had the most horrifying look on my face. Heavens. Penis. He thought I was telling him that his sister was allergic to penis. PEANUTS. She’s allergic to peanuts. Oh, nutsThe look of relief suddenly washed away the concern and disbelief that had shadowed his face for the previous ten minutes. After the clarification, the two of us broke into a fit of laughter. Bless his little heart. He sheepishly apologized and felt silly for being so mistaken. Well Mom, I couldn’t understand you because you weren’t speaking clearly. Boom. There it was.

This isn’t the first experience I’ve had with the whole peanut-penis confusion. Amazingly enough. My dad’s father of the bride speech at my wedding reception was just as memorable. Oh yes. He used to tell peanut stories to my younger sister and I when we were growing up. They were a bedtime ritual that took place on special nights. {And by special, I now recognize that really just meant my mom had recently picked a bag of them up at the grocery store}. They were engaging stories that ended with a peanut that happened to appear in the exact spot that the story predicted. Real childhood magic. And my father brought these up during his speech. It hadn’t even occurred to me that people might snicker at the close sounding word since this was obviously a memory that I was too busy happily recalling during his delivery. As it turns out, the groomsmen were chuckling among themselves. Not going unnoticed by my mother; she picked up on the apparent mishap, smiled and interrupted my dad to tell him he better clarify what he was talking about. He paused and upon realization, quickly straightened out any confusion to the 150 guests staring back at him. Directly speaking into the microphone without hesitation. PEA-NUT. There’s cashews, walnuts…peanuts. Everyone erupted into roars of laughter. {In the end it was truly the perfect comical moment right before the heartfelt, choked up words he later gave}. People were well aware he wasn’t actually telling our wedding guests that he used to tell PENIS stories to his two daughters when they were growing up. But gosh, a good lesson learned. When in doubt I guess you better speak up. For everyone’s sake. You don’t actually want anyone to think that you used penis stories to tuck your little girls into bed at night. Or that your fifteen month old daughter was tested and is in fact allergic to penis. Because that would just be nuts.

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