Octopus!

The Micro-Dragon is 25 months (2 years + 1 month) old today and he starts off the day pumped up full of octopus energy!

Octopus!

We’re really not sure where this came from, but the Micro-Dragon started running around and yelling “octopus!” earlier this summer.

It’s definitely not from the Mom, because when it comes to seafood, she’s pretty vanilla, preferring white fish without skin or heads, salmon without skin or heads, tuna without skin or heads or in canned form, shrimp without shell or heads, kamikase-maki… you get the idea. There’s certainly no cephalopods with extra-large sucker-enhanced muscular hydrostats anywhere to be seen on that list, because the mention of extra-large sucker-enhanced muscular hydrostats gives her the shivers.

That certainly rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Muscular hydrostats.

Especially when you do it with a lisp as when pronouncing Barthelona. Go ahead – try. You know you want to.

Muscular hydrostats are not just limited to cephalopods either as both the elephant trunk and the human tongue are non-cephalopod examples of muscular hydrostats. See? Drive-by learning each and every time you visit Liam Wallace’s blog.

Octopus! Definitely didn’t learn it from the Patrem either, though cephalopods certainly figure large on that list of delectable species for consumption.

No, “octopus” was quite spontaneous. He has had a teal-colored octopus bath toy for a long, long time and received stack-able wood boxes with animals painted on the sides for his first birthday, but they had been generally ignored in preference for books, numbers, and various fruit offerings.

The two octopus toys

A few weeks before the delivery and installation of his dream kitchen, he started stacking the wood boxes and would point at the octopus and say “octopus!” That of course caught the parentals by surprise so to verify, the Patrem said “octopus?” to which the Filium pointed again to the octopus, replying “octopus!” while having the “gee – what part of the word ‘octopus’ did you not understand?” look on his face.

So, octopus! it be.

Yesterday was a thunderboomie kind of day so dinner plans were somewhat disorganized. Having noticed the bath toy, we thought well, why not octopus?

Why not? Because extra-large sucker-enhanced muscular hydrostats makes the Mom squirm, that’s why not.

Besides, it’s seafood and we pretty much know how well Liam Wallace has enjoyed the various offerings of fish and shellfish over the course of his 25 months of existence. However, some forms of seafood seem to be perfectly acceptable and the parentals are in continuing amazement whenever the proto-school reports read that he downed the day’s fish lunch and asked for second helpings.

Still, we were determined to try octopus. But just not any octopus – octopus wieners! タコになる タコさんウインナー, or tako ni naru tako-san uin’nā. Great idea!

These things are everywhere in Japan and Taiwan (probably Korea and other parts of Asia as well where Japan had an influence) as they’re integral part of childhood lunches. It’s a little bit of whimsy to have with lunch and showing off the beautifully-formed octopus wieners sitting playfully in your artfully-arranged and nutritionally-balanced bentō is a way to show off to the other kids how much your mother loves you.

Trust me on that last part, because you really really don’t want to be the mother who sends her child to school with a bentō full of skanky deformed octopus wieners.

The other kids at the playground all know how to count (e.g. Liam Wallace counts in three different languages and was able to identify the number 8 months before his camping adventure with the troglodytes) and their eyesight at that age is super-sharp so it’s easy to spot whether your octopi have eight tentacles. What all of that means if they don’t is that your child will be known as:

  • the child whose mother doesn’t even possess the basic skills to put together a nice lunch for her child, or
  • the child whose mother doesn’t love her child enough to make even a minor effort for her child, or worse still
  • both of the above.

And kids talk. Imagine how it feels when the teachers, the other parents, the other schoolchildren, the crossing guard and pretty much anyone who even occasionally walks by the school all look at you, point and shake their heads while saying “so sad… that’s the mother who makes the bad octopus wieners…”

Want to do octopus wieners? You have to go all-in on octopus wieners and “be” the octopus wiener.

Fortunately the paternals divide up the tasks because no Micro-Dragon of ours is going to show up at proto-school or any other school with a bentō full of skanky deformed octopus wieners. The Mom does the baking and creates the army of cupcake frogs among other snack time options. The Patrem has knife skills (someone had to cut the umbilical cord) and went to school to learn how to count to 8, so octopus wieners with the correct number of tentacles are under his purview.

Biology lesson: this is where octopus wieners come from.

Pre-octopus - Costco Polish sausages

Yes, octopus wieners start off as wieners (hot dog sausages), which in this case were Costco Kirkland Signature-brand beef Polish sausages.

[aside: I can already feel some people starting to judge me now, but this is essentially the third time in his life that that we have served him one (no consumption in either previous attempt) and this is a pretty good quality sausage that is devoid of corn syrup, phosphates and fillers. The portion is balanced with other items from the four food groups sourced from good local purveyors and is served with bio-juice and biomoo. You think about that the next time your child drinks a glass of malk before going to school with that box of Lunchables and the cheapest white bread and sandwich filler you could find at W*l-m*rt.]

These are the proto-octopi, which are cut from the ends of the sausages. Using the ends is important because the round portion forms the body/head of the octopus. Octopus heads are round, and not flat tops like J. Jonah Jameson. Note too that they’re all evenly sized and with identical angles on the cuts – knife skills.

Proto-octopus ready for leg formation

Additional knife work. If one looks closely, the bottom of each proto-octopus has been slit to form 8 segments. Octopus wieners now ready for roasting.

Prepared octopus - EIGHT (8) legs on each octopus

In nomiyas, octopus wiener nibble plates are served with shredded cabbage, ketchup and mustard (karashi), while a yōshokuya’s set meal would pair steamed rice, soup and pickles (tsukemono; 漬物) with the wiener octopi, shredded cabbage and potato salada (ポテトサラダ; yes, that’s salad with an extra “a”). The main plate of octopus wieners would look similar to what one sees in this test plate.

octopus-wiener-salada

That wouldn’t happen here because for a kid whose mother has Irish ancestry commingled with Québeçoise de souche rootstock, he doesn’t like cabbage and he’s ambivalent to most potato preparations (as in he doesn’t like most of them). On top of all of that, there’s one more tiny paternal phenotype that managed to express itself because Liam Wallace is really not wild about things which stick to his hands. Ergo, we’re not going to watch how well the inclusion of Kewpie mayo into his potato salada would go over.

We elected to include items which might be addressed with less “meh” upon presentation so this is the eventual plate ready for some Micro-Dragon chewing action:

The serving of octopus

  • one slice of kamut bread
  • one portion of marble cheddar
  • four cherry tomatoes from Mme Pinsonneault (one of the red ones can be seen in that hole on the right bit of the bread)
  • sixteen pieces of peeled organic Japanese cucumber from Mme Pinsonneault
  • four octopus wieners, including one tipped over to show the 8 (eight!) tentacles
  • bio-orange and mango juice (not shown, out of frame)
  • biomoo (not shown, out of frame)
  • ketchup (Canadian-source branded Heinz 57), used to write Liam Wallace’s name

Big portion, yes!

But also balanced because there’s a grain product, a dairy product and two vegetables (three if you agreed with the Reagan-era USDA/FNS proposal that ketchup is a vegetable) in addition to biomoo and biojuice.

[aside 2: writing in ketchup is significantly more difficult than it looks. those women working in the maid cafés (メイド喫茶 / メイドカフェ) really deserve every yen they earn because ketchup penmanship is a difficult art form and they have to do it while putting up with the incessant streams of socially-inept otaku]

[aside 3: Liam Wallace has never visited a メイド喫茶 / メイドカフェ, though his paternal uncle has. and it is on his to-do list]

And how did Liam Wallace react to being served a plate of octopus?

He said “octopus!”

This would be him, demolishing three delicious tomatoes in short order before moving on to start consuming most of the tentacles on the first octopus.

Liam Wallace doing the octopus thumbs-up

Notice the thumb – it’s probably vertical because of the way he is holding the octopus wiener, but because the parentals are starved for meal-associated approvals outside of delicious pizza and ice cream, we officially state that he is giving the thumbs-up to his meal.

This is proof that Liam Wallace is actually enjoying his octopus wieners, as that is octopus number two getting the munching treatment while he watches a performance of the Potato Dance.

Liam Wallace chewing down on the second octopus

And what’s left of dinner after the munching was finished. Consumed: four (!) octopus wieners, three delicious tomatoes, two pieces of Japanese cucumber, some bread. And the cheese? There is a small nick missing from the far end, and if one considers licking as eating, Liam Wallace did use his muscular hydrostat to lick the cheddar a few times.

The leftovers from the serving of octopus

After that innovative repast, it was time to provide the Mom with a helping hand on the leftover portion of his paternal grandfather’s birthday cake.

Liam Wallace eating more of the grandfather's birthday cake

That pink elbow in the right of the frame would be her waiting for her thoughtful son to finish inspecting her piece of cake.

After the appropriate wipies were applied to every child part that managed to get covered in octopus wiener, tomato glop, cake and biomoo (meaning lots), what does a Micro-Dragon do to work off the dinner and the impromptu cake-eating?

Get into a high-speed (for his size) chase by the octopus.

Highspeed octopus chase

Around and around and around screaming “octopus!” while being followed by the little teal octopus.

Good for the kid (helps work out the cake, helps prep for potential Friday thunderpoopies at proto-school), also good for the Patrem (basic exercise and all).

So it was around and around and around. Apart from super eyesight and sprint capabilities, Liam Wallace also has a superior vestibular system since he wasn’t affected at all by the spinning. This Patret et Filium activity went on until the Mom finished preparations for the evening bath to remove the remaining octopus wiener, tomato glop, cake and biomoo that might have been missed with wipies, plus the flooding-of-the-Nile-River-delta equivalent of sand from the day’s proto-school play activities still lodged where sand shouldn’t be lodged.

And how did high-speed octopus chase eventually end?

Have you ever seen King Kong? The original 1933 version starring Canadian Fay Wray, where Kong climbs on top of the Empire State Building and then proceeds to swat the biplanes out of the sky?

King Kong on the Empire State Building

Sort-of like that.

Stopping for an octopus snack

 

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