One morning this week, I made some cheese grits for Kevin and me to eat for breakfast. Knowing that Zoe typically loves cheese grits too, I confirmed that she would also like some and set a piping hot bowl in front of her. Apparently that day her eyes were bigger than her stomach (something that is a continual problem for Zoe), because she took a few bites and then said, “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t want any more cheese grits.”
I rolled my eyes and encouraged her to sit there and try to eat a little more. I don’t think she picked up the spoon again, but she sat there, fidgeting in the seat and shifting her legs from side to side. She tossed her head and chattered about story after story (…so and so at school fell down; “long time” she forgot where her shoes were; once Grandma was jumping on the trampoline with Papa and Papa jumped on Grandma’s foot—“They both fell down,” Riley interjected.—; Zoe’s just going to be Mary in the Christmas play…) , and we encouraged her over and over to take another bite of those cheese grits.
Finally, as Kevin was heading out to work, he told her she could get up and be all done. “BUT,” he said, “you’ll have to eat those cheese grits for supper.”
Well, as usual, I rushed through the morning and didn’t get around to cleaning up the breakfast dishes until lunchtime. Somewhere in the midst of the insanity surrounding getting everyone to school on time, I forgot to put Zoe’s cheese grits in the refrigerator. So, when I finally got around to cleaning up, I decided that the only place for the cheese grits was the trash can.
When Zoe got home from school, she said (out of the blue), “Mommy, well, Mommy, well, breakfast is not supper.”
“True,” I said, “but you would still have to eat those cheese grits like your Daddy told you to except that I left them on the counter all morning and had to throw them in the trash can.”
Zoe blinked a few times, considering this bit of good fortune.
“Well, you just need to tell Daddy that it’s otay if Zoe has chicken for supper ‘ecause you left Zoe’s cheese grits on the counter all day and you threw them in the trash can. You just need to tell Daddy that.”
“Okay, I’ll tell Daddy. Don’t worry.”
We repeated the conversation above almost verbatim multiple times throughout the afternoon.
Then, after Riley and Adam were home, they’d all been bathed, and it was starting to get dark outside, Zoe cornered me in the kitchen (where I was fixing supper). At that moment, I was not thinking about the cheese grits.
“Mommy, when Daddy gets home and he walks in the door, what you going to say to him?”
I was absorbed in chopping something or cleaning something and was only half paying attention.
“Uh, I don’t know, probably ‘Welcome home!'”
“Then what you going to say to Daddy?”
“Umm…probably, ‘How was your day?'”
“Mommy, THEN what you going to say?”
Now she had my attention.
“I don’t know, Zoe, why?”
“Mommy, YOU need to say, ‘Umm, Daddy, I left Zoe’s cheese grits on the counter all day and I threw them in the trash, so it’s otay if Zoe has chicken for supper.”
I laughed out loud, and then I assured Zoe that I would make sure Daddy knew that it was my fault she wasn’t eating those cheese grits for supper.
When Kevin walked in from work, what do you think Zoe did?
She ran up to him and said, “UMM, Daddy. Ummm, Daddy. Mommy threw my cheese grits in the trash.”