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A Mouth on That Dirty Butt

F: Daddy, look! I found a smoker!
D: A smoker?
F (pointing to a cigarette butt in the tan bark on the playground): A smoker!
D: That’s called a cigarette butt, Fisher.
C (smiling): A butt?
D: Yes, it’s a silly name, but that’s what it is.
F: That’s bad, right, Daddy? A smoker shouldn’t be on a playground because smokers just make people die.
C: Why is a cigur butt called a butt, Daddy?
D: Fisher, don’t touch that! It’s called a cigarette butt. Whenever something is just the bottom part or base part of the whole thing…
C (smiling): It’s called the butt?
D: Well, yes, it’s called the butt.
F: Daddy, this smoker has…
D (turning to see him holding it): Fisher, drop that!
C: Ew!
F: But, Daddy, it has little brown things inside it.
D: That’s dirty, Fisher. Drop it right now!
C: Yuck, somebody’s mouth was on that butt.
D (eyeing the two women behind Cory, who although they had been speaking only German, are smiling): Yes, it’s dirty, Fisher. Now, I said now. Drop that.
F: But…
D: Now.
F (speaking with someone else’s attitude): Okay, *Daddy*! So, so, you just want that smoker to be on a playground and I don’t.
D: Fisher, it’s not your job to clean the tan bark with your bare…
F (dropping it): So, you just want the playground to be dirty and I don’t. That’s right, Daddy? You just want this playground to be dirty with smokers that er, eh, uh make people die. And I don’t. Right?
D: Someone will come along and clean it up with a tool so they don’t have to touch it.
F (with the voice of a delinquent mocking a cop): Oh, so, you just want that smoker to be there all day and I don’t, right?
D: It is someone’s job to…
F: But, you just want kids to get germs, er, eh, uh from that smoker, and I don’t.
D: Okay, Fisher.
F: I see, Daddy. You just want a dirty smoker to be…

Daddy gets up and uses a leaf to dispose of the “smoker” just to end the conversation.

C: Fisher, you touched that dirty butt. You have germs on you because someone’s mouth was on that dirty butt.
D: Guys, let’s move on.

The German women keep smiling.

Some Serious Side-Eye?

There’s no way that Cory’s best friend had the bandwidth to shoot her an intentional “This girl thinks she can out-shuffle me?” look during their performance, no matter what the camera shows. It took full and intense concentration just to stay the beat, beat and a half, behind the music that they each remained throughout…

Picking the First Daisy

Down goes the first daisy.

F: Daddy, I picked this for you.
D (damn it…um…so…yah…well…): Thanks, Fisher! I like daisies.
F: Me, too.
D: I like daisies that keep growing on the plant.
F: Uh huh.
D: Because it looks pretty when there are a bunch of daisies growing together. On the plant.
F: Uh huh. (Pause.) Here, Daddy, I picked this daisy for you.
D: Thanks, Fisher.

Eggs in Small Bowls

D: Look at you, Fisher! You did a great job on those eggs. Thanks so much!
C (slamming fork down): But, Daddy…
F: Thanks, Daddy.
C: …you know I just don’t like eggs. That’s not fair!
D: Cory, I didn’t say anything about you and your eggs. I just said thanks to Fisher for eating all of his.
C: But, I know you just want to say “thank you” to Fisher. But, he likes eggs, and I don’t. And that isn’t fair, and…
D: Well, when you finish your eggs, I’ll be super-impressed.
C: …you just give me too much eggs. Every day! And you know I just don’t like them.
D: If I had given you too many eggs, it would be too many, not too much. But, I didn’t give you too many eggs.
C: Yes, you did! (Pause.) Daddy, can you please not give me so much…many eggs next time?Trying to even out some of the ups and downs during the day, Daddy decided, among other things, to push protein. The twins conform to gender stereotypes in that, if identical plates have meat and veggies on them, he’ll attack the meat and she’ll devour the veggies, before all the cross-coaxing kicks in. Eggs are a particular challenge. They don’t have much taste themselves, without adding anything, and the kids don’t like anything spicy enough to jazz them up properly. And eggs are weird. They have an odd texture. Their color is uneven. (Don’t even bring slightly browned eggs to the table. Not. Gonna. Happen.) And, it isn’t uncommon to look down and catch a glimpse of something stringy or globby or just plain unsettling. Too much time staring at eggs and contemplating them as food…well, not advisable, especially for a kid, doubly so for a picky kid.

Daddy and Cory strike a bargain. If Cory will eat all of her eggs without complaining, Daddy will “help” her eat them, meaning feed most of them to her. Doing so is really about helping her to avoid thinking about them, or even looking at them much. She just takes the bites as offered, and everyone moves on.

Now, her request for fewer eggs? That can’t be honored. The whole point is to bring enough protein to the table, adding to what’s in whole milk and yogurt, to counteract the carbs and sugars that come from cereal and fruit. It’s non-negotiable. Daddy scrambles the exact same number of eggs but puts them in smaller bowls.

C: But, Daddy, why do we have to eat so many eggs again?
D: It’s a school day; so, it’s time for eggs.
F: Eggs are good for your body.
D: That’s right, Fisher. And, look, I’ve put them in these little bowls.
C (not yet seeing the little bowls): But, I don’t want that much eggs.
D: That many eggs, Cory, not that much. And it isn’t all that many. See, they fit in this small bowl. I didn’t put them in the big bowl, no, no. That bowl would be way too big. I don’t have all day to wash a big bowl like that! Let’s just power through these little tiny bowls of eggs. Now, did you want cereal or yogurt after these eggs, Cory?
C (opening for a first bite): Cereal.
D: Okay. Fisher?
F: Yogurt, please.
D: You got it. Thanks for using your nice words, Fisher.
F: You’re welcome.

Pause.

D (upon her last bite): Thank you, Cory, for finishing your eggs today.
C (chewing): Daddy, thank you for not giving me as much eggs today.
D: As many eggs. Many, not much. You like them better in the small bowl?
C: Yes, thanks, Daddy.
D (handing her the Cheerios): You’re welcome. Thanks for using your nice words. That other bowl was just too big, right?
C: Uh huh.

A few more weeks of “eggs in small bowls” will pass before Daddy will revisit his half of “the bargain.” The feeding thing is a little annoying. In the meantime, no stats have been compiled to confirm a connection between a drop in the amount of weekday sassafras and fewer low blood sugar lows. But, Daddy just knows.