Arsenic and old babies

Peanut: I’m eating the apple and the seeds.
Me: I wouldn’t eat the seeds if I were you, P.
P: Why?
M: Because they concentrate arsenic, a yucky chemical that can hurt your body. Eating one seed won’t matter, but don’t try to eat them, please.
P: Why?
M: Not good for your body.
P: [pause] Maybe we could name the baby Arsenic.
M: It’s a nice word, isn’t it?
P: Yeah. Can we name the baby that?
M: Probably not, P, because I want to name the baby something nice, not something that will hurt people.
P: Why?
M: Well, when the baby is little, we don’t want people to worry that it might hurt them, and when its big we don’t want people to worry that it might hurt them. Arsenic can hurt you, so nice word but not a great name.
P: Can we name the baby Hitting?
M: That’s a little more direct than arsenic, but no.
P: Why?
M: Nice names, not hurting names.
P: Maybe we could name the baby Pretend Hitting.
M: Maybe.

23 thoughts on “Arsenic and old babies

  1. Perhaps offering to come up with a nickname for Peanut (Hateful, Enraged, Poison, you pick) would help to demonstrate the point while providing a teensy bit of passive-aggressive relief for you. ;)

  2. Well, “pretend hitting” shows that your many repetitions of “nice not hurtful” is getting through, anyway!

    How about pretend pinching? That’s got some nice alliteration…

  3. Did I already tell you the story of how my (then) 2 1/2 year old Nino desperately wanted to name our unborn baby Rainbow Unicorn? Somehow we finally settled on Diego Sunshine. Sunshine being his addition of course. The Sunshine did not appear on the birth certificate, but he didn’t know that at the time. Unfortunately, 3 years later, he still believes Diego’s real name is Diego Sunshine and he freaks out whenever my husband tries to inform him that he is actually named “Diego Raphael.” I’m glad you are being honest with little Mr. Peanut. Otherwise you might end up having to explain to an 8 year old later on that your baby really is not named Arsenic Hitting.

  4. Daryl, that would be hilarious. “Come on, you little Mommy Ender.”
    jc, that’s an awesome compromise
    Ink, Pretend Pinching is awfully cute, and now on my list. ;-)
    ck, I guess that’s the problem with Pretend Verb names…when they go through the named phase, you’re tempted to drop the “pretend.”
    Naomi, while it is true that Arsenic Hitting is way more accurate than Rainbow Unicorn, there’s something to the aspirational name that brings out the best in all of us. Diego Sunshine. That’s just funny.
    Kitch, you’d have to grind them up and eat a lot to kill you. Looked it up and it’s cyanide, anyway, not arsenic. Nutmeg is way more dangerous (but you have to eat a whole nut and a half to get really sick). But still. Might as well teach him the few bits of trivia I know so he can win us big bucks on a game show.

  5. You know how some names sound OK on little kids but not on adults? I think Pretend Hitting might work for a while, but then you’d have to change his name to something more adult, like…Passive Aggression or Backhanded Compliment.

  6. Hi
    I’m new around here (just discovered and fell in love with your blog) and am trying to find out how you went with your manuscript?? Did anyone accept it?? What is the book about anyway?
    Sorry to bombard you with questions, just really love your writing and would love to know more about it…

    • Hey, Kylie. Welcome!
      The manuscript is wending its way through various agents’ offices. We’ll see what comes of it. As soon as it has an agent and publisher I’ll reveal details about the novel and when it’ll be on shelves!

  7. Pretend Hitting is a step up from some of the names a few of my patients have been saddled with.

    And when your book gets published, I expect you to visit the area on a book tour, so I can meet you in person, buy you coffee, and establish that we are friends in 3-D space, as well.

    • Dan, I don’t doubt there are worse names out there. Cyanide Seeds, as a friend told me, is actually kind of melodic. And don’t you worry. I have close friends in Boston and in Vehmohnt so next time we’re out that way I will definitely arrange to see you.
      Kylie, I dreaded the “no, no, no” phase, too, except that my mom had this cute story of me taking each sock out of the drawer, shaking my head, saying “no no” and continuing on until the drawer was empty. The word I really waited excitedly for, “why?” has come to represent everything that irks me about parenting: a wonderful opportunity for teaching and communication and a hammer in my brain that won’t let me think my own thoughts.

  8. Thanks for your reply. I hope your novel makes it’s way quickly into the printing process – I would love to read an entire book by you!

    I also just read your new post on the word ‘bad.’ My toddler is only 18 months and I dreaded her learning the word ‘no’ and repeating it to me throughout the day, but instead I’m plagued by ‘more, more, more!’

  9. I’m sure Pretend Hitting would LOVE hanging around big brother Possible Allergen. Kidding, I couldn’t resist!! Your little guy is hilarious.

    • Fae, we do the same. There are a lot of bloody awful names purportedly on the list. Izzabilly is my favorite no-way-in-hell name. I don’t want his opinion ignored. But deadly names are a faux line I’m willing to draw.

  10. Great post, thanks. I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite awhile and I should probably comment more. It’s alway a great read.

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