Those with kids out there – has this ever happened to you? You’ve prepared a little something for yourself and children magically appear around you for a handout. It’s like they’ve been beamed down to join you, Star Trek style, their little chins are suddenly resting on your shoulders, their eyes pleading and their tummies empty. So, so empty.
My youngest daughter can hear the slightest crinkle caused by opening a bag of tortilla chips within a half mile radius. She’s like a shark sensing one part per billion of blood in the water. If a bag opens in her vicinity, she drops whatever Little Critter book is occupying her at the moment and begins to circle.
Last night, I had just microwaved myself some nachos when my son and daughter appeared at my elbows, little fingers reaching, mouths watering. Now, I have let them have the occasional bite in the past, but on this night, I wasn’t interested in sharing. I told them both, “no.” I’d made myself a dish I wanted to enjoy on my own.
My son said, “Ok, then make me a plate of my own.”
I again told him no. He asked me his favorite question, with just a dash of accusation to spice it up. “Why?”
“Because the answer is ‘no'” was my response.
He flung himself onto a couch in the living room, which shares space with the dining room in our home. “But,” he informed me, “I want a reason!”
“No reason,” I said. “Just ‘no.'” This flummoxed his seven year old mind. Wasn’t I supposed to give him something? Wasn’t that my duty as a caring loving father ready to talk out why he’d already eaten all the food he needed for the day?
Nope. It was that day’s lesson in “life’s not fair, buckaroo.”
Maybe a little cruel. But my nachos, all to myself, were delicious. It’s the little victories, really, that make parenting worthwhile.