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.
- “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.”
- 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?
- 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.