(NEXSTAR) — It’s well-documented that kids say the darndest things — but what happens when your kid keeps saying something that you just can’t place? It’s the mystery one Florida dad is currently trying to solve.
Chris, who gave Nexstar permission to use his name and that of his 2 year-old Jack, reached out to Nexstar with the conundrum, pointing us to a much-upvoted and answered Reddit thread where Chris was also seeking answers.
He explains that every night, Jack dumps out the bath toys from their bucket, “places the bucket on his head and says, “I’m [blank] [blank].” The last part of the sentence is still unclear.
“In the past, I’ve thought he says ‘I’m Hank Evil,’ or ‘Hey Evil,’ or ‘I’m very evil’ — but I can’t figure out the character. I do think the second word is evil,” Chris wrote on Reddit. Per the clip above, you might also hear “Henry Evil.”
Chris also jokes: “My wife is a speech language pathologist for kids and also can’t figure this out.”
Chris took to Reddit and laid out a few pointers for any potential sleuths:
- It’s not Wall-E
- It’s not Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
- Ben said it’s from a movie from Netflix
- Ben said it’s a boy “who gets scared and runs and flies.”
- Chris thought it might have been from one of DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” films, but deduced it’s not
- When asked where the saying comes from, Jack says “from the pumpkins,” which leads Chris to believe it’s a character who puts a pumpkin on his head
Many Redditors in the r/tipofmytongue subreddit pointed to the inclusion of the bucket as a potential clue, suggesting the “Winnie the Pooh” character Eeyore (who is sometimes seen with a bucket), Gonzo from “The Muppets” (who often wears a helmet), and Elmo from a recent Halloween-themed episode of “Sesame Street.”
Others latched onto the “pumpkins” portion of the mystery, attempting to link the impression to Halloween, which had only just passed.
Some theorized that perhaps little Jack was just inspired by the Halloween season and was pretending to be a jack-o-lantern — but that doesn’t pan out considering Jack insists the character is from a piece of entertainment. Not to mention that Chris says Jack loves pretending to be other characters rather than inventing his own.
Two other hypotheses were a character from the 2004 kid’s film “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” and a recent viral Target Halloween decoration whose catchphrase was “I am not a jack-o-lantern — my name is Lewis!”
But none of these options fully pan out, Chris says.
It’s now been nearly a week of searching for the answer. But Chris believes, to the best of his family’s ability, that they recently found that answer during a last-ditch viewing of Illumination’s “Despicable Me” film series.
A little while later, Chris sent a message to Nexstar: “It’s almost definitely Vector from ‘Despicable Me.'”
Vector was one option previously floated by a Redditor: “Is he pretending to be the Bank of Evil from the ‘Despicable Me’ movies?” the Reddit user asked. “Like, he’s being a building with the tub on his head?”
This is the way Chris explains it.
“Jack confirmed and pointed to Vector [a main antagonist from ‘Despicable Me’] as the character. Vector is not the same as the Bank of Evil, however, which is just a place. There is also a character named ‘Miss Hattie,’ who is a minor antagonist. Working theory is he’s thinking of Vector and conflating Hattie’s name with it.”
Overall, none of this is unusual, since children — particularly toddlers — are known to repeat words and phrases. If you’re a parent, this likely doesn’t surprise you.
In conversation with the Cut, Marriage and Family Therapist Julie Wright explains that toddlers repeat for a very specific purpose: learning.
“They do it to take in information and learn new language; repetition is how they study everything, just the way we do something new and complex, like ballet or the violin,” Wright said.
So if your child is repeating mystery phrases, appreciate the fact that they’re likely using it to work out vocabulary or speech — or even just because they think the words/phrases are funny. And Chris says he hopes your kids choose something else besides “Minions.”
Curiosity satisfied, Chris adds: “Never in my life could I have imagined this much of my life in adulthood would be doing such a deep dive into ‘Minions’ canon.”