Thursday, November 15, 2012

Informal place setting

We sat down to a breakfast Jacob always loves. We placed his bowl of Oatmeal Squares next to his sippy cup of milk and handed him his spoon, just like we always do.

And while the rest of us dug in, Jacob only screamed.

We gave him a firm "No!" We tried feeding him ourselves.

He screamed more. And pushed his bowl away.

That's when I noticed the roll of paper towels. They aren't usually there, but this morning I'd decided to bring them with me to the table in case we needed to mop up a spill. Jacob's kind of a creature of habit. Maybe he doesn't like that the paper towels are there, I thought. I moved them out of sight.

He screamed more. And threw his spoon.

"Maybe he wants a napkin," hubby suggested, handing back the spoon. Jacob does like to be clean when he's eating, and he does like to have something nearby to wipe his hands and any milk that spills. It seemed a plausible suggestion.

I retrieved the roll of paper towels, tore one off, and passed it to my two-year-old.

The screaming ceased.

We watched as he carefully set his bowl, spoon and cup aside, smoothed his would-be napkin out in front of him, evened it up with the edge of the table, then replaced his breakfast on top of it.

He'd made himself a placemat. That's what all the screaming was about. And for the duration of breakfast, he ate peacefully, content that there was something there to catch his drips.

One of these days I'm going to pull out the real placemats and really blow his mind.

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