Nothing ruins the morning quiet like a bleary-eyed argument.
Jellybean doesn’t ease into her day – much like her old man – rather she wakes up with her mental faculties firing on all cylinders, placing her in a distinct advantage when it comes to convincing me of something that I know is wrong … or at the very least mildly unhealthy.
Breakfast has become a particular thorn in my side. There was a time when grits solved everything. Then waffles or those little Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits could curb the rumbly in Jellybean’s tumbly. But of late, nothing seems to satisfy. Well, there is one thing …
The conversation goes a little something like this:
“So what ‘cha wan for breakfast,” I say, yawning and rubbing my eyes.
“UMMMM…” Jellybean answers, as if she doesn’t already know.
“How about a Pop-Tart,” I say.
“UMMMM… No … can I have that,” Jellybean replies, grinning that it-never-hurts-to-ask grin she learned from her sister, while pointing toward the giant red bag on the counter. “Yeah. I’d like those.”
“No, honey,” I say calmly. “You can’t have Doritos for breakfast.”
“Because they’re not good for you. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You need to eat something healthy … like these. How Hot Fudge Sundae-flavored Pop-Tarts.”
Yeah, this makes a lot of sense … like when people order a slab of cheese cake and wash it down with a Diet Coke. Feeding Jellybean has long been an ordeal or sorts. The child practically lives on cheese, chips, noodles and bread. And we’re a fairly healthy minded family. Sure, I usually have cereal for lunch but that’s only because I’m too lazy to read the instructions for the fish sticks and am on a diet based solely on the avoidance of any foods with dipping sauce.
Jellybean, on the other hand, eats mightily – save for the fact that she’s about as close to being a vegetarian as any 3-year-old can be without being raised in some freaky PETA cult. She’s a typical kid who’d rather have lollipops and doughnuts at every meal instead of broccoli and meatloaf.
What was goofy about this recent verbal volley was that I was advocating Pop-Tarts over Doritos … ‘cause that’s logical. I mean at least Doritos have some semblance of fiber and protein (they are corn chips after all … or at least I think so). Meanwhile, a single Pop-Tart is loaded with enough sugar to rot the baby teeth right out of her head.
It was one of those moments where I’d forgotten if I was the parent or the child. Only my hard-headedness (could that possible be a word?) reminded me which side I was on. After all, logic has little to do with parental decision making, especially when following the law of Because I Said So.
By 7:50, we’d reached a standstill. Jellybean, sitting all pouty with her arms crossed and eyes fixed on the Doritos and my attention focused on SportsCenter, it looked as if the child might just starve. That’s when she provided a breakthrough of sorts.
“Hey Daddy,” she said, “I know I can’t have Doritos for breakfast. What about those?”
She was pointing toward the cabinet. Not the cheese crackers or the prunes, not the Granola bars or the hotdog chilli … could it be?
“You want Veggie Tales?” I asked, handing her the gummy candy that’s shaped like vegetables. “Sure. Why not.”
Now that’s what I call a compromise.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.