Joe-Joe’s and other Addie-isms

Dear Joey,
Well, I’m finally making good on my promise to record the funny things Addie’s been saying these days. I think it’s been well over two months since you started nagging kindly asking me to do it. Up until now, I’ve had the best intentions without any follow through.
But the other day at breakfast, as Addie was telling me (in her garbled way of doing so) that she was drinking coffee and eating oh’s and the oh’s fell over and she was all wet, too — that I realized if I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t get it done. Seize the moment while I’ve got it, right? So here I am, watching Addie eat her bark and drink her soy-milk-only pretend “coffee” while she’s talking to the picture of Mickey, Pluto, and Minnie on the empty Huggies box that’s sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be relocated to my parents’ house. (Whew. That was a mouthful.)
Addie started talking in two-word sentences about three weeks ago. Out of nowhere, it just sort of happened, and when it did, I looked at her in utter confusion, as if she was this grown up person who was having a real conversation with me. For the life of me, I can’t remember what she said, exactly, (and I’m kicking myself for not recording it), but now she pretty much only speaks in two-or-more word sentences. Gone are the days when she’d only say milk or more, or up.
In fact, her speech is getting so sophisticated that that she’s making up her own words, words like shick-a-bah shake (which she uses when she pretends to read by herself) and moh-cha-nayne (which she uses as an expression of contentment or happiness, it seems). Blueberries are known as birdies around here, raisin bran is chips, and bars of all kinds (granola, cereal, and energy) are all bark. And Sloppy Joe’s are Jo Jo’s.
We discovered this a few nights ago while I was out for a jog. When I got back, you said she’d been saying “joe-joe’s?” ever since you cleaned her up from her dinner. At first, you thought she was asking to watch G.I. Joe’s, because you know, a 21 month old little girl just loves to watch that. (But as it turns out, she actually does like to watch it, and often asks you to watch it with her.) When she made it clear that was not what she meant, though, you tried again to figure it out but were left stumped. When I got back, you asked if I knew what it meant, and I thought for sure I had the answer: earlier that day we had pulled out a bunch of baby toys to show Mia, including Addie’s toy giraffe named Jo-Jo.  Addie had a particularly good time showing him to Mia, so I figured that she must be talking about that toy. But you assured me that wasn’t it, as you had already thought of that and discovered that wasn’t it. So, I did what any mom in her right mind would do: I asked a 21 month old to show me what she meant.
Addie took me by the hand and led me back into the kitchen and pointed at the pan of Sloppy Joe’s that was still warm on the stove and with a look on her face that screamed “duh, mom,” she asked, “Moh-wah joe-joe’s?she asked. How did both of us fail to put two and two together? Of course she was asking for more Sloppy Joe’s. And despite feeling silly that I hadn’t figured out what she meant on my own, I was ecstatic that she wanted to eat more. It was a huge success as far as I was concerned. Getting this picky eater to eat just about anything has been particularly difficult lately. So back in her chair she went.

I wish I could take all the credit for this recipe, but I admit that I used one of my favorite go-to cookbooks, Great Food Fast, as the inspiration. I made a few modifications (ie: red bell pepper instead of green; more celery than called for; etc.) What I came up with was a great solution for our little problem, since it uses lots of fresh veggies in addition to the meat. In fact, one could even add more than the recipe calls for – no picky eater would be the wiser, the flavor is so good and the consistency is perfect. It’s low-sugar, too, so it really is the best of both worlds: kid friendly and super healthy.

Be prepared to eat lots of them over the years, and be prepared to hear Addie as for “Moh-wah joe-joe’s peese?” and then exclaim “Mommy? Moh-cha-nayne!” mid-bite. You know, until she learns the words for “These are good!”

                                                             Love, Scratch 

Addie’s Favorite Joe-Joe’s
1 T canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
course salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 T Worcestershire sauce
 2 T sugar
 Hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper, celery, garlic and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are soft.

Add the meat to the skillet and cook (breaking up the meat as you go) until the meat is no longer pink.

Stir in the tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and sugar; simmer until thick. Make sure to stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Serve on hamburger buns.

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