Maybe it’s because I have squirrels in the backyard, but sometimes I think parenting is a bit like raising small, intelligent squirrels. What I mean is that they are cute, helpful, and mostly of the making-sense variety. But they’re still squirrels, perhaps until puberty, when I envision they change into fire-breathing dragons of some sort. What I mean is this: no matter how reasonable they seem, they can still be easily distracted and somewhat nonsensical. Wild. Cute, but unpredicatable. Which occasionally makes my job an exercise in insanity. You know an example is coming, right?
Prior to going to the beach, I asked the kids what they would like for their lunch. I rattled off a series of reasonable choices swimming at the top of my head, which included various types of sandwiches. M immediately requested peanut butter and honey. K, unsatisfied, requested pizza. “I don’t have pizza, and I don’t above time to make it,” I told her. “I could make quesadilla,” I offered, to which she agreed. I made pb&h for M and I and quesadilla for K, and off we went.
When I opened up lunch, squirrel-ish chaos ensued.
M: I want quesadilla.
Me: You asked for sandwich.
M: But you didn’t tell me you had quesadilla.
That’s true. Imagine that: I didn’t remember to list every item I could possibly make from the contents of our fridge, freezer, and pantry. Partly because the more things I list, the more times I have to repeat said list before anyone picks anything.
Me: Okay, maybe K wants to trade some quesadilla for sandwich.
They trade. They eat. K requests another sandwich. I think, Great, now M will get more quesadilla. This thinking thing, it’s always where I go wrong.
M: Can I have another sandwich?
Me: Actually, there’s quesadilla left.
M: [With the utmost of indignation] But now I want sandwich!
Should I mention that they ended up eating my lunch and I was stuck with melty trail mix? Insanity and flexibility, both.