Thursday, March 29, 2007

Teaching Vegetable

In retrospect, in wasn't the best parenting idea I've ever had.

My seven year-old asked me, "Why do onions make people cry?"

"Well, Gabriel," I said, "Onions give off a gas when you cut them. The gas irritates your eyes and makes you cry."

Other parents would have stopped here. Other parents would have turned back to their television sets. Other parents would have absolutely nothing to write about in their blogs.

I, on the other hand, cut up an onion and both Gabriel and I took a whiff. You know what happened?

Nothing. Neither Gabriel or I cried. Not a sniffle. We took another whiff and still nothing happened.

About five whiffs in, we both started to cry. Gabriel was amazed. I felt like the coolest dad in the world. That feeling lasted right up until the moment Gabriel's right eye started swelling up.

I learned a few things that night. For instance, if you're relating an anecdote to a doctor and her first response is, "You did what?", you've probably made a medical mistake of some kind. I also learned that people cry because onions give off a very, very diluted form of sulfuric acid and that some fathers actually suffer from a very, very diluted form of "stupid".

A dose of Benadryl quickly fixed Gabriel's eye, so there's no long term harm. But you know what? I'll think twice the next time I have the urge to teach "vegetable".

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