This is a fork. It is for picking up food you would like to put in your mouth. Such as macaroni and cheese, or fruit salad, or chicken bits that you would like to dip into ketchup. I know your fingers work quite well for all these foods and have never let you down in the past. I understand, I really do, that nothing is funnier than sticking your thumb into a chunk of chicken and eating all around it and then licking the ketchup off your skin. If I'm not laughing at this great hilarity, it's only because I do not understand why raw baby carrots must, at all costs, be eaten with a fork, but cake with icing must not. And when I am confused I don't always laugh. Perhaps you can explain this to me, so we can laugh together as the carrots zing around the kitchen.
This is a spoon. I know that spoons have a pesky track record of turning upside-down on the way to your mouth and depositing yogurt and milky cereal in your lap. But, trust me, they are a better means of getting the last bits of applesauce to your mouth than are your fingers. You see, unlike a fork or your fingers, a spoon has no divisions in it for the applesauce to fall through. And although we switched to soup in a mug with a straw, I have to say that I'm not such a big fan of the straw as an applesauce-consuming utensil. I don't know why. It just doesn't look nice. Mama is not always logical.
I appreciate how much you have been doing lately to humor your little sister, who I recognize can sometimes be annoying (your word) in her insistence on following you around and doing everything you do. I will never forget the night that you complained about her copying you. I told you that she copies you because she wants to be big like you, and that when she copies you, you are teaching her things. After a long pause, you said wonderingly, "Do you really think so?" And I did, with my whole being, think so.
Now I know so. Only what she is learning at the dinner table lately is that forks make very fine hats. At least according to your sticky smiling face. And that bumping bellies is a hysterical mid-dinner reprieve from eating boring beans. And that all milk should be stirred before drinking. With a knife. You have learned, I see, that nothing in this world is more gratifying than a captive audience. And one who can't get off her own chair without falling is pretty well captive. I grant you, her belly laugh IS completely contagious. But could we talk about the knife thing?
This is a knife. Contrary to the recent surge in knife usage around our table, it is in fact not a utensil designed to stir milk. Or to "pew bad guys." You do an excellent job cutting your own waffles with a knife. And your little sister is learning this from you, for which I am exceedingly grateful. Last night, you spent quite a long time meticulously cutting your beans so that they would all be the same length. I applaud this precision and dedication (though I might have preferred it if all of the trimmings weren't handed to the dog). While I cannot say that I lay awake at night, pregnant with a little sister for you, hoping against hope that she would become adept at "pewing bad guys" with her cutlery, I am willing to admit that this is in fact rather a funny thing to see a pony-tailed toddler do.
However, this milk stirring is driving mama crazy, and it really must stop. I do feel badly that I lost my temper last night and yelled at you and made you cry. Over spilled milk. But, really, how many nights in a row have Daddy and I suggested that knives have no place in milk cups? I recognize that you are only just four years old, and that the world is a place in which to experiment, and that the use of tools is a great sign of human evolution. However, your glass of milk is the one and only food on the table that at all times I very strongly prefer should be consumed without the aid of utensils of any kind beyond the cup that holds it. Dipping your fingers into your milk to suck off the drips is not drinking. Dipping your knife into your milk to stir it around is not drinking. Pretending to cut your cup with your knife--though admittedly knee-slappingly funny--is not actually drinking. And now your sister is getting into the act. And if I have to mop up two glasses of milk every night at dinner for the next few years, I might lose my mind.
So, I propose a truce. You keep the knife out of your milk, and I'll stop nagging about the kitchen curtains. Which aren't actually made out of napkins.
Your always loving,
Tuesday, January 29, 2008