"We're not the regular kind of people who eat squirrels," said the man I was chatting with at last weekend's party.
In the words of our host, who happened to be walking by just then: Now there's a sentence you don't hear every day.
I am not sure what a regular squirrel-eating person is like. But a non-regular squirrel-eating person is one whose family is private school educated and has executive level positions in cities not generally associated with the eating of squirrels. I am more interested in how you would recognize squirrel in someone's lunchbox. He says it's usually fried, like chicken. You know, a little cold fried squirrel. I imagine it is recognizable as squirrel in the same way quail is recognizable as quail.
Once in Vail I went to lunch with my mother and ordered the quail salad. When it arrived it looked like Tweety Bird had flown too close to the crème brûlée torch and landed on my salad. "I am not sure I can eat this," I said to my mom. The waiter was prepared for this eventuality and whisked it back to the kitchen for deboning.
I was not much more successful with frogs legs, which I had at my friend's house when we were in elementary school. Frogs legs look distinctly like frogs legs and we demonstrated this fact by having them do the can-can. I don't recall if they tasted like chicken, but I do know that spoon kicks were tricky. I also know my friend's mother either is a saint or has an evil sense of humor. I suspect both.
I was thinking of that friend and her mother today as I was driving Lucy and her friend Giselle around. News flash: the people in the front seat can hear what the people in the back seat are saying. I recalled youthful car rides as if they happened yesterday - car rides in which we detailed deeply personal and dorky things. I was sure her parents couldn't hear us.
I was so caught up in my reliving of Great Embarrassing Moments in Teenage History that I almost missed this gem: "I put a bead up my nose and it's still there. My mom doesn't know." Sadly, it is not said by Giselle.
My glee at discovering a simple, painless and legal way to find out what's going on in my child's life is eclipsed by the knowledge that I may have to let her know I heard her. And then I'm sad that she has things she can't tell me about. And then I fret that she may - if not now then sometime - lie to me.
I'm not sure how to handle the last two concerns, but I did discover that waiting until we got home and then nonchalantly saying something like "hey, is there something shiny up your nose?" works like a charm with a 5 year old. After all, moms know everything.
Eventually. Moms know everything eventually. Because it's been up there for A Couple Of Days. She is not sure what it is or how it got there but yes, there's probably something shiny up there - thank you so much for asking. So I do what any modern mother does in a situation like this does. I google "how to get a bead out of child's nose." There are a few suggestions, none of which worked completely and some of which were more disgusting than others. I won't detail the path to our success but it included blowing bubbles in the tub out the bejeweled nostril with a finale involving a pointy object and a flashlight.
And as I was finally getting it out, she was saying "hey, I think the blue pearlized pressed Czech glass bead that I took off my bracelet and then put up my nose is coming out."
So maybe that's the answer to my new "she won't talk to me" neurosis. Pull something out of someone's nose without judgment or censure and there's no telling what else you might get. Do not try this at work.