Lately, I’ve been fighting one cold after another, probably because we just enrolled our daughter in preschool.
This is not uncommon for new teachers and parents. Kids are adorable, but a lot like walking petri dishes. They love to pick their noses and chew on everything, so throwing them together is a lot like opening random bottles at the Center for Disease Control.
Well, my husband is tired of everyone getting sick, so he took it upon himself to heal us with food (because he’s awesome like that). He’s convinced there’s no illness that enough fat and iron won’t fix and I’m not about to argue with him on that point.
So a couple of days ago, he ran to the store and brought back good T-bones and beer before firing up the grill.
Bridget, who I’ve mentioned really likes to eat, caught one whiff of barbecuing T-bones and started shaking. Pacing back and forth in the kitchen until she determined the amazing scent was coming from outside, she started banging her little fists on the sliding-glass door to get closer to it.
John let her outside and held her for a while as he flipped the steaks. She was super excited, drooling and twisting herself into a frenzy by the time we finally settled down to the table for dinner. She tore into the steak with the kind of ancient, protective hunger you’d expect from a starving lion, gnawing on the bone for over an hour.
Brontë, on the other hand, has never been into meat. She tried a couple of bites before handing her meat to the baby, ridding herself of it while simultaneously getting praised for sharing.
She is more of a pasta fan, which was lucky because John made fresh pesto last night. He makes great pesto, blending basil leaves, parmesan and toasted pine nuts from scratch. Bronte loves it, but her place as our house’s pasta queen was about to be challenged.
After John set heaping plates of pesto pasta down in front of his happy family, Bridget started waving her arms and screaming, “FWAH! FWAH!”
“Her wants cheese or salt,” Brontë explained.
She was right. Bridget has started inventing her own words, and likes to call any condiments “fwah.” It can mean salt, or grated cheese, or Worcestershire sauce… we’re never sure, but she seems to want people to put something on her food when she says it.
I grated a little cheese on Bridget’s plate and she smiled and clapped. Guess we got it right.
The kids tore into the pasta, but Brontë was satisfied after one plate. Bridget demanded more, and was eating with such ferocity and determination that her big sister couldn’t help staring at her.
Bridget struggled with her fork for a while but it slowed everything down too much. She dropped the fork and started two-fisting pasta into her mouth as Brontë giggled.
About halfway through her second plate, Bridget started getting full. We could tell, because she was slowing down and the ferocity in her eyes was calming. She started eating slower and slower until she was eating in slow-motion.
Finally, she began to get uncomfortably full. She stopped, stared at the pasta, and said, “No.”
She stared at it again, sighed heavily, and said “No.”
Then she grabbed another strand of pasta and hurriedly crammed it into her mouth.
She looked at her plate again, blinked, then said, “Noooooooooo…” with a hint of desperation.
She ate another piece, very slowly, before picking up her plate with both hands and shoving it towards me. Her baby mouth said “NO,” but the look in her eyes said, Will someone PLEASE take this away from me!? I need to stop eating it, but I can’t!”
I grabbed her plate and she panicked, screaming “NOOOOOO!” while grabbing pasta with both hands and shoving her pasta-crammed fists into her mouth. Brontë started laughing.
I put the plate back in front of Bridget and she grew her head back, wailing “NONONONONONONONONO!”
Bridget still only has a handful of words at her disposal, but the way she said “No” seemed to mean: “What did I just say!? You need to get this out of my face before I eat myself to death!”
So John grabbed her plate again as she wrestled with pesto demons, reaching toward the plate, then stopping herself, then reaching out again:
“No… (sigh). No no no!”
Brontë was in hysterics by this point, watching her sister struggling to quit compulsively overeating pesto. She grabbed some pasta off her own plate and handed it to her baby sister, who grabbed it, wolfed it down, then started rubbing her oil
y green hands all over her face and hair.
Brontë laughed so hard, tears were streaming down her face.
“Sister like pasta,” she said.
Yes. Yes she does.