"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jellybean Pleases

Starburst jellybeans taught Xander how to say "Please."

You see, I'm plagued by cravings for seasonal sweets. During the winter holidays, Sam's Club bakes these red velvet/ white chocolate chip cookies that are great gobs of cosmic delicacy. I was physically depressed when I went in for my fix in January and was told they only make them during the holidays. I'm in a forced state of remission until November.

Then I get this thing for Starburst jellybeans every Spring when bean season comes around. I'm fond of most kinds of soft, fruity, jelly candies: the orange slice, the gummy bear, the Mike and the Ike. A regular jellybean is a tasty treat, even the black ones. But the Starburst jellybean completes the Easter basket.

I don't think they taste much like the old-school, square Starburst fruit chews. But each flavored bean is something better. Even the yellow ones. And especially the purple ones. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, purple is the best fruit. The original package is what I yearn for. The tropical versions aren't the same; it's a dangerous game to incorporate coconut into, well, anything. The sour flavors are a good addition, but the tart burst in your mouth can be unpleasantly surprising.

So every year, I purchase several bags to munch on while I wait for Easter to happen, then I eat the ones that somehow end up in my children's baskets, then I go buy more after Easter when a bag is, like, fifty cents because apparently no one likes the jellybean anymore after Mr. Echo's pal has made his rounds.

(Sorry, bad Echo and the Bunnymen reference, up there. Here's a fitting ditty as an apology. Who needs jellybeans when you have lips like sugar. Oh, this is getting ugly...)

Okay, so the X-man caught on early that when Mom and Dad don't let him eat what they are eating, that means it's better than the rice patty Mum-Mum or even the cheese stick snack he's likely to get. And the jellybeans have been ubiquitous around here for a good two months now. The boy will only be held back for so long before he gets his way. It doesn't take much, of course. Really, all that's required is the quick pitter-patter of jammied feet or the slight toss of his head and a toothy smile. I melt so easily.
Seriously. Say "no" to this guy. Go ahead and try.

I hand him one jellybean, which he cups in his hand and moves away, hunching over as a puppy might with a biscuit or Dracula with his victim, cape collar hiding the fangs until that last moment, and the satisfied discordance in his throat. Within moments he's back, empty palm up, babbling for more. His words mostly sound like "Ma ma ma ma," and to me it's mostly just "whinewhinewhinewhine," but he knows I know what he means. Eventually I have to stop. As a conscientious parent, I can't keep giving him candy whenever he wants. It's not good for him. Besides, getting him to brush his teeth is like trying to poke a tiger in the eye.

I say to him, "Say please."

He says, "Ma ma ma ma. Whinewhine."

I say, "Say please," and repeat "please" again, slowly and clearly.

"Ma ma?"


He says nothing, wondering why his handout of chewy goodness isn't in his mouth yet.

"Say please. Please. Please."

And quietly, barely audibly, he says, "Plbbpt," which is frequently referred to as a "raspberry" or, as Bill Cosby would call it, a "zurbit."

But it counts! Solid "P" sound at the beginning, attempt at correct tongue placement to get the "S" sound at the end. Definitely a "Please." He gets a jellybean. I'm elated. He's sated. Briefly.

The next time it sounds more like "Peace" and he gets a handful of jellybeans.

He regularly says "please" now and often even gets a jellybean in return. He's Pavlov's dog, but his vocabulary is increasing.

Except I'm fairly certain he thinks a jellybean is called a "please."
This is Candyland park where he gets to climb the gumdrops.


  1. He's a super cute kid. And you've hit on two of my weaknesses with this post, jellybeans and Echo and the Bunnymen. I now crave both. Thanks.

    1. Yeah, Echo just sort of snuck in there. Any chance to plug good music, though...

  2. Teaching them new words is always fun. You can add some of the most surprising things to their vocabulary.

    Say "Hook me up, bro!"
    Say "No more taxes!"
    Say "Great Googly Moogly!"
    Say "Oh, snap!"

    Good boy.
    Here's a jelly bean!

    1. Just one more reason to watch my own language around the house, too. Next he'll be saying, "Oh frick!" (I don't admit to ever saying that.)

    2. Yeah, that's just what he need, a little miniature Rev running around :D

  3. Oh could Xander be any cuter. They grow up quickly. I agree, I couldn't say no to that precious face.

    1. I'm hoping he grows out of it. Otherwise he's going to rule this house soon. Wait...too late.