Last night I made blackened catfish for dinner. This being my first experience into the "blackened" culinary genre, I was surprised to find out that that blackened does not just refer to the food but also the smoke that billows out of the hot pan used to create the desired black effect. Lyla thought this experience was terrific as she made Garth pick her up so she could swat at the clouds of smoke billowing across our kitchen ceiling. It looked like a scene from "Backdraft" in our kitchen.
After some ventilation (which is not an energy efficient exercise in Arizona in June) we eventually enjoyed dinner and then started to get Lyla ready for bed. Every night I read several stories to Lyla and one we read every night is "Love You Forever." This sweetly odd book was a favorite of my husband's family while he was growing up (in fact we got two copies from his family when Lyla was born) and so I thought it would be a nice one to read every night. It is the story of a mother who sings a song about loving her son forever to him throughout his life. She gets sick, can't finish singing the song and then the adult son sings it to his baby daughter. Sounds sweet enough? It is. If you don't get choked up the first few times you read it you might not have a soul. However, there is this one issue with the book, which I came across the first time I read the book to Lyla when she was just an infant. I remember sitting and reading and my mouth just dropping in shock as the book talked about how once the son was an adult and had his own house, sometimes his mother would drive across town, "and if that big man was asleep" would put a ladder up to his window, sneak into his bedroom and cradle him whiling singing her song about love. This is a book that my mother-in-law (who is one hip grandma and not at all crazy) had given me and for just a second I was like, "This isn't normal right? She doesn't want to do this? Right? Right?" That said, you get used to the obsessive behavior of the mother and the book is very sweet. And thus far no mother-in-law crawling through my window. But if that does ever happen I just hope she rocks me too.
All of that explanation leads into our "Love You Forever" reading experience last night. In almost every picture of the book the family cat is in the scene in some way. It is an odd proportioned gray stripes on gray fur cat and Lyla LOVES finding it. In EVERY picture. Lyla still doesn't say much in the way of animal names unless we really prompt her and then she'll repeats it. She is very into the sounds that animals make though. So a cat, instead of being called a cat, gets pointed to while Lyla says "Meow, meow". As we read "Love You Forever" we have gone through and pointed at items and I ask what that is or Lyla asks me "What that!?!" (Which is her current favorite phrase. Apparently if she doesn't say it at least 277 times a day she will explode. She is very careful to not only hit her maximum but exceed it. ) So last night I pointed to the cat and asked Lyla, who was trying to wrestle her way out of my arms and off the bed, "What's that?" She responded, "Fish."
Now I am all for creativity and inventive thinking, but that cat is not a fish, so I corrected Lyla and said, "No, it's a cat."
Lyla's response, "Fish."
Me: "It's a cat."
Me: "It's a cat."
Lyla: "It's a fish."
This continued on for a few more minutes, which I considered a success because although I never did convince Lyla that it was a cat, she learned how to say "It's a..." before her incorrect answer so I think that deserves at least partial credit. Lyla figured out that I thought she was pretty funny and really launched into her fish defense — well it wasn't much of a defense as much as a commitment to one statement — but it was generally pretty amazing to have my 22-month-old screaming "It's a fish!" at me and my proposition that the picture was a cat.
As I was retelling this story to Garth I realized where Lyla's confusion between the cat and fish species had stemmed. Dinner! No more catfish for the Bostics, the compound name must have confused Lyla. Unfortunately I had a dinner of hot dogs and eggplant planned for tonight...