Peanut Butter Bandit

Why is it that I’m always trying to impress my daughter’s friends with my easygoingness?

We had a before-school playdate today, and as is my habit I extensively quizzed our guest on her sandwich preference — peanut butter, no jelly, crust on, cut into squares. Standard operations working with preschoolers, after all, and I thought I was being really clever as I prepared one plate in the requested manner and the other with Fern’s usual: peanut butter only, crust off, cut in triangles.

I so smart!

Except, of course, when the girls finally sat down, they schooled me in a number of fine points that I’d overlooked.

To wit:

  1. “Square” actually means “the sort of rectangles you get if you cut a sandwich once, parallel to the shorter sides.” I can sort of see that, yes. “Squared-off,” maybe, would have been a better word. Or, to be exact, “rectangles.”
  2. Fern’s “I prefer no crusts” actually means “I prefer no crusts unless my friend is over who likes crusts, in which case, leave those suckers on there.” Of course.

What could I do? I made two more sandwiches, cutting our guest’s into rectangles and Fern’s into crusty triangles.

You see lesson three coming, don’t you?

  1. If my guest is getting rectangles, then so am I.

I didn’t get fussy, I didn’t get mad. I made Fern’s third sandwich, cut just like her friend’s. Five sandwiches made, two eaten: not a bad box score, actually.

I suppose I try to be flexible with kids because, after all, what’s the option? I could have refused to offer special peanut butter handling today, but then chances are I would have dropped two pissed-off and hungry children at school.

So they got what they wanted and I got not only three solid lessons, but three entire peanut butter sandwiches (plus the remains of two more, because though I’ll never admit it I’m constantly eating kids’ leftovers).

Plus — and you have to know three-year olds to feel the significance of this — they ate.