Minutes after I unpacked them from grocery store, Reece’s radar tracked the four bags in the refrigerator. She stole one from the top shelf. She held it up in a gesture that asked me to open the cap. “No. It is almost time for lunch.” She wore an adorable smile, one she saves for ice cream, nothing I make for meals. I found her excitement contagious. “Okay, fine. You can have yours for lunch.”
Her persistence continued through the afternoon. She won each request because I wanted her to eat. And I was glad she liked a food in my kitchen that wasn’t candy. Normally my rules with these pureed pouches are to either have one a day as a snack while we’re at home or to pack one as a snack when we’re on the road. At a $1.67 a piece, they are extra.
With one bag left at the end of the day, I figured Super Nanny or any other parenting guru out there would sternly recommend I stand my resolve. When Reece took the fourth bag out of the fridge and presented it to me, I took it away from her. “No,” I said. “You can have it in the morning.”
She flattened herself on the kitchen linoleum with screams of heartache, and if she were able to talk more fluidly, she may have said, You’re the worst mommy ever! Thankfully, it was bedtime. I placed the sweet potato-blueberry concoction in the fridge at her level, so if she followed her older sisters downstairs in the morning, she would find her little treat waiting.
The next morning, I sent my oldest off to school, and then did something I don’t always do. I left a sleeping Reece snuggled up with her sleeping daddy while I drove my middle daughter to preschool. I returned twenty minutes later to find Reece, alone on the main level, chewing on something. In her hand, she held a solid rectangle that wasn’t Laffy Taffy or chocolate, her usual loot-the-cupboard booty. Ah! Cucumber. What? Where did she find that?
“Michael,” I called. I heard him moving from room to room upstairs. “Mike! Did you know Reece is down here?”
He yelled, “Sorry, but she wouldn’t stay up here. And I had to shower and get ready.”
On the kids’ table in the living room, I found the rest of the cucumber—and a steak knife.
I said a silent thanks to the angels that must have been on duty, protecting her vital organs, arteries, limbs while her daddy shampooed and shaved. She must have been on tip toes to find the knife in the drawer.
Michael came half way down the stairs to sit on the landing. He started to put on his socks, clearly focused on getting out the door to work. I said, “Holy crap! Look what she did.” I showed him the evidence. And waited for us to be horrified by it.
Reece stood nearby, chewing another bite of cucumber. We stared a moment at our maniacal climber of cupboards, our toddler who sniffs out anything in a wrapper, and wondered what motivated her to suddenly pass up the fruit bag to rummage for real, unprocessed produce. We were … amused. But only because we could be. She was healthy, curious, and intact.