This week, my toddler is mostly obsessed with cleaning his teeth and onions.
The two aren't related. It's not the eating of onions he's interested in, it's the purchasing of them. He only wants to eat raisins, Rice Krispies and peas.
Last week, we went to the local shops for local people in a nearby town. After we'd visited the friendly butcher (that sounds like an oxymoron, but I think it only applies if you're a pig) and the bakery, it was a fair walk for a barely two year old to walk to the grocer's shop. He managed it, his only complaint being that there were really fewer puddles than he would've liked.
When we got to the grocer's shop (which is also the pet shop), the lady behind the counter was serving someone else. This mainly involved finishing the transaction by manipulatively withholding the customer's change (tantalisingly held over the customer's open hand, but with fist firmly closed) until she had finished what she wanted to say.
"Oh yes, he's got weeks left. WEEKS. That's all. I thought you knew, I did!" she exclaimed dramatically.
The customer squirmed slightly.
"Yes, it was Mick what told me. I saw him a few weeks ago, you know, he came in here for two pound of carrots and he was fine. FINE! I just hope he's not a cabbage, like. I said to our Tommy, I just hope he's not a cabbage, didn't I Tommy?"
A tall man in the corner nodded gravely.
The customer looked still more uneasy, as if she were perhaps wondering whether her change was really worth it after all.
"It's a shame, it is. Real shame. Such a shame." opined the lady behind the counter.
The man nodded in agreement again.
"Awful, isn't it?" she asked her customer.
"I'm sorry," said the customer, slightly tremulously and with a certain amount of dread, "But I'm afraid I still don't know who you mean."
The lady behind the counter, clearly disappointed by the lack of dedication to local knowledge displayed by her customer, finally let the change drop from her iron grip and allowed her prey to walk free to continue her shopping unhindered by tales from Death Row.
Meanwhile, my toddler had chosen our produce. As many onions as he could hold.
The lady behind the counter eyed him speculatively and asked "Is that a boy or a girl?"
"A boy." I replied, wondering why there was any confusion and why it mattered anyway.
"I see. Well don't let him touch the tomatoes then." she warned mysteriously, before weighing and bagging up our onions, and other items that I'd managed to sneak in on the pretext that the onions needed some friends for the drive home.
The rest of the transaction was completed in silence. I clearly didn't look as if I knew the Man With Weeks To Live. Not that that was an essential attribute, it seemed.
When we left the shop to walk back to the car, my toddler decided he was tired and needed to be carried, now that I had the maximum number of shopping bags to carry as well. I wondered why I never have the intelligence to bring the pushchair, even though this happens every single time.
When we reached the car, I realised what I'd forgotten to buy at the grocer's.
Somehow, I wasn't really very upset about it.