Favorite Things my Boys Say

“I accidentally ate all my tic tacs.” My solution to Gabriel’s nervous tick of chewing on his shirt cuff. His teeth — either coming loose or coming in — were probably bothering him. At any rate, the chewing didn’t bother me, but his teacher mentioned it at our parent conference, so I bought him tic-tacs. They didn’t last as long as I had hoped.

“Epsect.” Ep-SECT. Last year I finally broke down and corrected Joseph’s mispronunciation of, “except.” I was going to miss hearing it his way. Thankfully the lesson didn’t stick and he has reverted. He’ll learn on his own time, and in the meantime, I get to hear him say epsect. I love it.

“Supermuch.” This might take the cake on cuteness. It’s been Gabriel’s answer to my query, “How much do I love you?” since I got home from Afghanistan. I’ll be sad when he learns that super isn’t an adverb.

Giving me advice on whom dad should marry next doesn’t really fit the category of things my boys say frequently, but it can’t go without being recorded. Joseph, you see, used to have an infatuation with Kelly Clarkson. She’d come on the radio and he’d get really excited. Well this appreciation of her musical abilities crossed over into a suggestion that dad marry her. It was 2011. “Where does Kelly Clarkson live?” Texas, I think. “We should move to Texas.” Why? “So you can marry Kelly Clarkson.”

Another time, around the same time, Joseph revealed his cunning genius. I had promised him a “pink cookie.” May Granny B’s continue as long as we read this. Anyway, it was late at night by the time I got around to go to “Sev” to get it. Joseph did not let me forget. “I’ll have the top half.”

“EIGH-oh!” A lazy combination of Hey! And Ho! I guess? Cute. Gabriel said it more than Joseph, but the phase was over by Fall. Update from the mom: “Hey ho is really hey-oh, Nigerians place oh after every thing. ‘Sorry oh,’ ‘Richard oh,’ ‘thanks oh,’ etc. He picked it up during our last trip home. Alice’s personal assistant said it a lot. Haha!”

After Naomi was born, I doted on her, of course. And given my penchant for hyperbole, often said, “She’s the cutest girl in the world.” One time I looked to Joseph for confirmation. “She’s not the cutest, but she’s like 17th cutest, which is still a pretty good rank.” Indeed, Joseph, always one to avoid overstatement.