Baby girl decided she needed a snack before bed tonight. She didn’t want any more of the soup we had for dinner. She didn’t want a sandwich, or one of her Easter eggs. What she wanted was a dark chocolate cookie with dark chocolate filling. I can’t say that I blame her, but she’s been munching on chocolate eggs, jelly beans and marshmallow bunnies for two days, and the poor thing is already running out of baby teeth. If the big ones start to go, she’s in trouble.
I suggested she eat a banana for snack. Now, bananas have this strange power over my kids. When we’re in the grocery store and we pass by the display of bananas, the kids are drawn to them like Nick Nolte to a crack house. “Ooooh, bananas! Can we get bananas?” they cry, like orphans in the beginning stages of scurvy, or whatever it was all those pirates got from never eating fruit.
I always grab a bunch, temporarily thankful that my kids love fruit so much. Then I come back to reality and pause with the bananas halfway to the cart. If I set them down in the cart, I’m obligated to buy them, and I’m not that great with commitment. I need to be sure about this.
“Wait a minute, guys,” I say. “Are you actually going to eat these if I get them?”
“Um, yeah. I like bananas,” says thing two.
“Mmhmmmm, I suppose,” says thing one.
“Duh, yes,” says baby girl. “Why would we ask for them if we weren’t going to eat them?”
“Are you SURE? I don’t want them to sit around turning black so I have to do the creepy housewife thing and make banana bread, okay?”
“Yeah,” says thing two, “I’ll eat them.”
“Mmhmmmm, I suppose,” says thing one.
“YES,” says baby girl. “We will EAT the bananaaaaas,” stretching it out so I can hear just how ridiculous I’m being, doubting whether these wonderful, healthy-food-loving kids of mine are going to eat the delicious fruit they’re begging for. What kind of rotten mother tells her kids that they can’t get bananas? What am I, one of those moms who makes them eat hot dogs and cellophane-wrapped cupcakes twice a day, and thinks that Froot Loops are somehow a vegetable? Of course not. The bananas-organic, even!-go into the cart. They come into the house. They land on top of the microwave, where the bananas always live until they turn black and gross and become theoretical banana bread before becoming compost, which is a euphemism for “throw it off the porch with the moldy tangerines and the head of cabbage we found under the couch last week.”
So tonight, I offer baby girl a banana in lieu of the cookie she wants.
“I don’t want a banana,” says baby girl.
“You said if I got bananas, you would eat them,” I remind her.
“Well not all of them, and I just don’t want one right now. I just want a little snack.”
“A banana is a little snack,” I tell her. “It’s a banana. It’s not like I’m telling you to eat an entire watermelon.”
“I like watermelon,” says baby girl.
“Not the point, and we don’t have any. Go eat a banana.”
“But I can only eat like half a banana. What do you want me to do, eat half a banana and then just throw the other half away? That’s wasting.”
“You can wrap the other half up,” I tell her.
“Then it will get gross. Nobody will ever eat it.” She does have a point. It would sit in its little plastic bag home until it was brown and slimy and we had to play guess-whether-this-was-a-banana-or-string-cheese before throwing it out.
“Someone else might eat the other half. Ask your brothers if they want it.”
“Why would anyone want to eat half a banana?” she asks.
“Baby girl… you’re going to eat half a banana.”
“But they won’t,” she says. “They don’t want half a banana.”
“Just ask them,” I tell her. “One of them might want a little snack too, and you can split the banana.”
Baby girl heaves a great, melodramatic sigh that makes me wonder whether I slept through her next three birthdays and she somehow turned 13 without me knowing, rolls her eyes and flounces-yes, she flounces-into the living room.
“Thing one,” she begins, and I can tell by her tone that this isn’t going to go quite like I planned, “would you like a half-eaten banana?”
Oh good grief. Really, child?
“Ummm, no,” says thing one.
“HUH.” says baby girl. Another melodramatic sigh, and then, “Thing two, do you want a half-eaten banana?”
Thing two manages to tell her, “Nooo, I don’t think so,” before bursting into laughter.
Beloved has his head in his hands, laughing so hard he has to wipe his eyes. I have to commend him for at least attempting to hide his amusement from her.
Baby girl skips back into the library, wearing a smirk she could have stolen right off my own face. “See?” she says. “Nobody wants a half-eaten banana.” I don’t even remember how I responded to that. I just know that when she marched back into the kitchen, rummaged through the cabinets and asked if she could have a tube of squeezy, berry-flavored applesauce, I was afraid to say anything but yes.
I figure Friday will be about right for baking that banana bread.