Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Fine, I'll Make It MYSELF!"

Dontcha just love the willful independence of preschoolers? When said preschooler clashes head-on into an equally stubborn mother who hates to waste food, things can get downright dirty. The perfect example of this happened today at our house. It started when my cheerful tot affirmed that scrambled eggs with cheese would be a most-welcomed breakfast, and then decided that he no longer wanted them after only consumming one bite. He said he decided he wanted something else. He couldn't say what, exactly, but that doesn't even matter because Homie Don't Play That. I am NOT a short-order cook. You eat what I make you, or you don't eat. Period. Thems the rules at my house, plain and simple. Especially when the food made was something the child said they wanted in the first place. So, both of my kids essentially went without breakfast this morning. Fine. We had a playdate at a park today, so I packed up lunch for both kids (peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and choice of "side" included yogurt and/or cheese stick and/or granola bar). Stuff they normally like. Only they were too caught up in the fun at the park with their friends, etc. to really sit down and eat. I pack the lunch back home and offer it to them again. I'm met with the oh-so-frustrating response of "but I don't WANT that kind of sandwich!" and the ensuing fit that usually follows these sort of episodes. I don't cave, and instead announce that if they're not hungry for the yummy lunch I made them, then it's nap time. Fast-forward 2 hours. My charming son, plenty hungry, wakes up and announces his hunger. I tell him his lunch has been waiting for him and I'll be happy to get it for him. He asks what it is (as if he doesn't know - ha!), and gets really pissed off when he realizes I'm not caving and making him something he would prefer to have. Then, in a huff, he tells me, "Fine! I'll just make my own sandwich!" with all the indignity a 4 year old boy can muster. It was hard not to laugh. I tell him "OK, as long as you can do it ALL by yourself, and I expect you to clean up your mess". First mistake. He then starts a running commentary on the procedure to make a sandwich. Clearly he's been paying attention all these years. I got my camera and recorded this historic event: Nicholas's first sandwich making ALL BY HIMSELF.

First, he got out the bread and decided he didn't like the heel slice. He grabbed the first "normal" slice and put it on the counter. He slid a stool over to the toaster oven and said he needed a mommy to help with this part. I told him I wasn't going to help him at all, so he would just have to forget toasting the bread (sidenote: he NEVER has his sandwich bread toasted normally, so I'm not sure why he wanted to do that - ?). He then proceeded to move the stool over to the cutting board and then went to the fridge to get the rest of his "ingredients". It took him awhile to decide what kind of sandwich he would make. He opted for a cheese sandwich with Ranch dressing. He brought the fixin's to the cutting board and opened the cutlery drawer. He grabbed a knife (note: these are just the regular knives - butter knives - not the sharp cutting knives. He's *just* been allowed to touch this type but the sharp ones are still very much off-limits to him). He upends the bottle of Ranch and squirts out a fair amount. Surprisingly not too much - I expected worse. He carefully spreads the Ranch on his bread. This took a couple of minutes to do - it's tedious stuff, spreading. He's giving a running play-by-play as he does it, too.

"I'm going to spread some carefully this way... maybe if I sort of push it back a little... and I need a little bit more over here... I think I'm going to need more Ranch... ok, now it's moving on my bread..." It was at this point I decided to get the camera - it was too precious.

I was wondering what he was going to do about the cheese. He's obviously not allowed to touch/use/come within 10 feet of our sharp knives, which we actually keep on top of the refridgerator for safety. Clearly this was no obstacle for my boy - he simply proceeded to the cheese-cutting part of the sandwich making with the knife he *could* use: the butter knife. I mean, wouldn't you?? So without concern for my pretty and fairly new block of cheese, he starts trying to cut a slice with his Ranch-coated butter knife. And oh boy, this was slooooowwww going. He's trying to muscle a fat slice of cheese while sitting precariously on a bar stool, using the WRONG SIDE OF THE KNIFE. He asked me to help him and it was all I could do to say no. He was trying soooo hard to get some cheese - any cheese - off that block, and it just wasn't happening. So my budding genius thought, "hey! maybe it's the knife. I'm going to try a different one and see if that works better." And got another butter knife from the drawer and resumed his efforts. At least THIS time he was using the dully serrated side....

Finally, he managed to chunk off some cheese. He was disappointed that it was "rectangle and not a square like Mama makes", but kept it anyway. He meticulously put that oh-so-thick wedge of fought-for cheese on his bread and went back for more punishment. At one point he was making good progress, getting little bits of cheese with regularity, that he even gave some to Lauren, who was cheering him on. At long last, he felt he had enough cheese and moved into the final phase of sandwich making: cutting the sandwich. He was only making a half-sandwich (since I only allowed him 1 slice of bread), and cut that bread in half - sort of. Good enough. He put one half on top of the other and declared he was ready to eat. I declared I was ready to download my pictures I'd just taken and write up this entry. And just 5 minutes after I sat down at the computer he runs up to me and announces that he ate his sandwich ALL GONE and that it was delicious and waaayyy better than the icky peanut butter sandwich I'd made. So there! And? He even cleaned up his mess.

"First, you start with spreading Ranch on the bread." Notice how it covers the entire slice! And note the discarded heel slice - those are "gross!"

"Then you cut some cheese, like this"

Please note that he's holding the BUTTER knife UPSIDE DOWN. Yes, we're aware he's quite gifted... Love how he's getting Ranch all over the cheese (shudder)

Nicholas gets a 2nd knife from the drawer, thinking another one will bring him better luck. Nice to see he's practicing knife safety techniques... At least this time he's using the cutting edge and not the blunt one.

Voila! A bit thicker than usual, but it's the best he could do with the butter knife, not being allowed to touch the sharp ones and all...

Carefully placed on the prepped bread

He even cut a bit for his cheerleader!

"Now you cut the bread into two rectangles, like this.."

"... and it's the best cheese sandwich I ever made - all by MYSELF!" Posted by Picasa

I loved this entry. I was smiling and laughing through the whole thing. Kids! My god they can be hilarious!
I agree with VJ. Very cute and funny entry. Kids are something else!

Cute pics btw of both kids!
Too cute!!! I would have never thought to get the camera when my kid was being defiant (I get too irritated by the attitude). But then again, they don't offer to make their own food, so maybe I better share this entry with them.... :)
First off, VERY cute pictures!
Secondly, I wanted to thank you for your comments on my blog. I wish blogger would let us respond to comments left, but you know how it is with them. So at any rate, I am glad you delurked!
OMG, that is the most adorable story!!
Go Nicholas!
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