We were on the road a bit earlier this week, and Curious Girl and I were on our own for dinner one night. She was tired, so I took her to the sushi bar. The food comes quickly and she likes getting to see what the sushi chefs are doing. We were seated right in front of the octopus and the salmon, and she asked me to identify all the fish we could see. "I want some octopus," she said, after first wondering whether the octopus could sting the chefs. She insisted she wanted to try some octopus. I don't actually like it, so I didn't want to order it--I tried getting her to wait until we could eat with Politica, who does like it. But as I didn't want to 'fess up to not liking octopus myself (the most we ever say around here is "I'm not up for that tonight"), and as the menu said it was only $2.00 for a single piece of sushi, I went ahead and ordered a piece.
"Is that tape?" CG wondered, pointing to the piece of seaweed that was wrapped around the octopus and its bed of rice. Then she wanted to know where the tentacles were, whether it could sting, and pronounced herself too nervous to try it. I ended up insisting that she try a bite. Usually, we don't direct her eating much, but in this case, I thought it was OK: she had pushed me to order this food, and I'd gotten it just for her, so I thought she should try it. Eventually, she did. And she liked it! The sushi chefs were really enjoying her running banter about it.
Things got a bit surreal when Curious Girl asked me if this octopus was Henry. "Of course not, Henry is underwater with Henry's Big Band," I answered. "No, I think this is Henry." (This is CG's latest play pattern: she allegedly invites us to interact or make choices in play, but she knows what she wants all along. You can see why this is my and Politica's favorite knock knock joke these days--CG doesn't get it at all, but Politica and I think it's way funny.) So then we had to talk to Henry about how he was doing, how she was eating him, how she likes his music. Quite surreal. But she had a few bites, and used the octopus to lap up a ton of soy sauce. I heard her on the phone talking to my mother about eating octopus today, and the story she tells is that she was nervous and didn't like it at all. She was nervous--but at the time, she liked it OK. I'm sure my parents weren't saying anything positive about her experience. But I thought it was pretty darn cool that my girl tried the octopus. And I thought Dr. Corndog, among others, would get a kick out of the Wiggles/food juxtaposition.
It was an interesting evening: the sushi chef started talking to me about how she had three children, but she had lost eight babies, and how even now when her kids are grown up, when she sees people with babies, she cries. Curious Girl was having trouble following the conversation in the moment, but she asked me what we were talking about. "That's so sad!" she kept saying. It was. But I was glad to know a little more about the woman who was making our food.
Bonus conversation: one day last week Politica said to Curious Girl, "You're my favorite!" Curious Girl replied, "You're my favorite, too!" And then a few seconds later, she said, "So that works out well, then."