If I had known at the time that we would be just past our first full week of toilet training when I was booking this weekend’s Early Learning Workshop at The Ark, I would never have gone for it. The traditional wisdom is to lock yourself in the house with your toddler and remain antisocial until you and they are ready to emerge from under the mountain of laundered underpants, trousers and a cocoon of towels and enter back into society, able to handle strolling out in public without having to dodge into every single cafe or other public restroom just in case.
I didn’t know that, however, so I booked tickets and was reluctant to waste them, so armed with everything possible to by way of a survival kit Hawkeye and I ventured out.
It was a bit of a manic preparation to get out the front door, so before the show, I took the few spare minutes we had to grab a very quick snack at the coffee shop a few doors down from The Ark. It’s the second time I’ve been there and, surprising myself completely, I discovered I enjoy their Greek yogurt with some granola. Hawkeye was munching away on his own snacks while I stuffed my face with yogurt as fast as possible. I did, however, slow down long enough to offer him a spoon. He likes fruit yogurts, but he’s mostly used to goat’s milk yogurts and berry flavours. I wasn’t actually expecting him to agree to try it, and I definitely didn’t expect him to like it.
I got one of those right.
He agrees to try a spoon so I give him a taste. He eats the spoonful of yogurt and then very carefully, with great concentration, chews the granola as his eyebrows slowly draw together into a rather sour frown. He doesn’t do any of the toddler things that are possible – he doesn’t spit it out, stick his tongue out and let the yogurt dribble down, cry, yell or get upset. He just continues to chew with steely determination to get through the experience and return to his biscuits.
“Did you like that?” I ask him, knowing the answer full well. He pauses for a moment before replying.
“Yeeeeah…” he replies. Slowly. Reluctantly. With the least conviction I have ever seen. Well, if he wants to play it that way… “Would you like some more then?” I ask him, wondering which way this will go. I’m opening myself up for all sorts of unpleasant reactions but I just couldn’t resist calling his bluff. He stays silent for longer this time before replying, as if carefully considering his strategy for escaping this situation.
“No,” he eventually decides. “Mommy eat it.”
I was left with nothing to do but thank him for allowing me to finish my breakfast snack. Outmaneuvered like a pro. This kid will go far.
*Ok, his pants would never have been on fire because they were actually full of wee, but that’s what the emergency pull-ups were for.