Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Foiled!

Only three boys this morning: Zach, Thomas, and Darcy. We're off to the park, but as a special treat, I decide to hit the Second Cup first: a chiller for me and blueberry muffin - one is big enough for three - for the boys. They have their drinks with them, and with a few library books strewn about, we look to be settling in for a comfortable outing. Between sips of my drink, I dole out chunks of muffin, one bite each, round the table. Darcy is a slow and methodical eater. He's not reluctant at all; the boy likes his food, he merely savours every bite. Thomas and Zach, however, are of the more typical toddler school of food appreciation: If you like it, cram it in and get more, fast!! Thus, if I simply give as each child is ready for their next bite, poor Darcy ends up with only half what the others get. Besides, I am in the business of civilizing them: I want to discourage wolfing and encourage savouring. Therefore, when Zach crams, chews once or twice, and then somehow manages to squeeze "Mah, pee" out past the wads of muffin still in there, I tell him he'll have to wait. Clever me, I've thought of a brilliant and simple way to make Darcy our Good Example. By uttering one simple sentence, the other two will have to pace themselves, and Darcy won't be short-changed: "When Darcy is finished, we'll all have more." Masterful, huh?? All eyes lock on Darcy. He chews peaceably for another moment or two, then suddenly becomes aware of the attention. He stops mid-chew, stares back, and then, clearly feeling the pressure, stuffs the rest of his piece in his mouth. His cheeks - and eyes - bulge under the strain. His eyes water a bit as he tries to swallow a portion of his mammoth mouthful. Tiny drops of muffin-laced drool trickles from between his lips, which can't quite close when he smiles triumphantly. He's done his part, and he knows it! Brilliant and simple, indeed, and masterfully undermined!

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