It's probably been over a year since that fateful evening, the night that we lost the term "french toast" in our family. It may not sound like much, but for this one-hit-wonder cook, it was a travesty.
One night, with either low grocery supplies in the house or simply low energy in the mom, it was declared that it was a Breakfast For Dinner kind of night. Ever since high school home ec class, I've been pretty proud of my french toast making skills, so that became the highlight of the night's menu. In an attempt to give the meal at least one healthy aspect, grapes were served as a side dish, and the whole family heartily ate up.
What we wouldn't know for a few hours was that our daughter was in the beginning stages of a stomach bug, and that the french toast would be making a second appearance in the wee hours of the night.
I'll save my wonderful powers of description and spare you the gory details, but let's just say that it was a disgusting mess with an aroma of cinnamon and syrup, and that washing vomit out of a bucket of Lego officially ranks as one of the grossest Mommy-tasks I've ever undertaken.
Unfortunately, despite our attempts at explaining viruses, our daughter would not shake her conviction that the french toast had made her sick. "French toast" became a dirty word, one that when spoken caused immediate disgust and possibly, dry heaving.
But when recently presented with another evening in which Breakfast for Dinner would be declared, I wondered if I could in fact present french toast as the meal if I called it something else. When she walked in the kitchen asking what was for dinner, I told my daughter we were having "cinnamon toast." Had enough time passed? Had the memory faded? Is a piece of french toast called by another name tasty and non-associated with vomiting?
As I soaked that bread in the delicious egg/milk/cinnamon batter, I considered the similarity of the situation to my successful four year campaign for the "fancy ladies." While we hadn't purchased any toys or materials adorned with the images of the Disney Princesses, our daughter was exposed to them almost as soon as she exited the womb, since they are so pervasive in our culture. When she was two, the Pull-Ups we bought at Costco had their froofy visages all over them, and she immediately became entranced. I couldn't bring myself to introduce her to these characters who I felt represented nothing that I wanted my daughter to embrace, so I took to calling them the "fancy ladies," and my daughter was satisfied and followed suit. Unfortunately, that bubble was burst as soon as she befriended other similarly besotted girls, and my renaming pursuit came to an end.
But, it would appear that there is much power in a name, and I wonder if I'm alone in the attempt to harness that power for my own use. While the ladies all have their assigned names now, I can happily report that "cinnamon toast" has no known associations with that early morning adventure in puking. However, if someone says they like "french toast," my daughter will immediately regale him with her highly descriptive story of how "french toast makes me vomit."
Apparently, a name might just be a name.
Dawn may reside in Greenbelt in real life, but online she lives at her blog, my thoughts exactly, where she chatters on about her funny kids, her NPR obsession and plenty of other randomness. She can also be found at 5 Minutes for Books, reviewing everything from contemporary fiction to children's literature.