Last night at dinner: "I bet John Lennon eats naan with spinach on it."
Now, keep this in perspective. First of all, it was toddler-speak, intelligible to nobody except his adoring parents who hang on his every utterance and are inclined to interpret it with a generous spirit. Also, he had already mastered smaller portions of the sentence. Ever since he asked me a few days ago whether John Lennon eats Dora cookies, he has been obsessed with the former (in every sense*) Beatle's diet. After much deliberation, we have decided that it encompasses rice, couscous, cheerios, yams, noodles, yogurt -- in short, whatever Ben is eating at the time. After I responded to some of his queries about John's eating habits with "I bet he does -- I bet John Lennon does eat couscous with yam," he picked up on the phrase. And when he observed last night that the proper way to eat saag paneer is to smear it on some naan, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. It was just a question of stringing the parts together properly. After several attempts, he managed it, to my slack-jawed amazement and enthusiastic applause.
He has added "Eleanor Rigby" to his rotation, taking some of the pressure off his old stand-bys like "Yellow Submarine" and "All Together Now". Having identified Bob Dylan's image on the Sgt. Pepper's cover, we've occasionally turned our attention to "Tangled Up in Blue". He is also a Jonathan Richman fan, and his favorites there are "Circle I" and (I know I'm going to get some concerned e-mail from Ben's various grandparents about this one) "Lesbian Bar". (Trust me, it's a cute song, primarily about dancing.)
*The astute reader will note that Ben is clearly unaware that the Beatles broke up forty years ago, or that half of them are regrettably no longer with us. As far as he is knows, the Beatles are a going concern, and they spend most of their time in the Yellow Submarine eating couscous and brushing their teeth. Ben is not a keen teeth brusher, and we try to cajole him into accepting this insult upon his person by claiming that it is an established practice among his favorite celebrities and daycare friends.