Tit for tat

A couple of times recently I’ve noticed that my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter has had to learn something the hard way in order to really learn a particular lesson.  I suppose what seems like illogic to me is just her way of testing out the world to see what happens.  Well, Chelsea gave me a little lesson in the ‘tit for tat’ concept the other day after I taught her a minor but hard lesson.  It didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop – right on me…

I was in the middle of making pumpkin muffins a couple of days ago and all three of us were in the kitchen: my husband,  our daughter, and me.  Ingredients were strewn over the countertop including a half-used can of plain pumpkin mash that was, of course, one of the main ingredients.  Because Chelsea was having a snack in her highchair at the time she spied the can sitting on the counter at eye level.  “What’s that, Mama?” she inquired, pointing at the intriguing can.  “Oh that’s pumpkin, sweetie, I’m using it to make the muffins.”  “Can I have that?” came the reply, to which I replied, “Oh, no.  You wouldn’t want that it.  Pumpkin doesn’t taste very good on it’s own.”

This answer seemed to satisfy Chelsea until a few minutes later when all of a sudden she started getting upset.  Somehow through her minor shrieks we deduced that it was the pumpkin she still wanted, and was getting pretty demanding about it.  I tried my line again. “Oh Chelsea, you don’t want pumpkin.  It’s not very sweet on it’s own like that.  You can have some in the muffins, OK?”  But it was no good, her cries escalated.  Well, OK, I thought to myself.  Here goes.

“OK, you can have some, but I guarantee you’re not going to like it,” I said as I prepared a 1/4 teaspoon serving of plain pumpkin mash on a tiny spoon for her.  Then I popped it into her eager, open and waiting mouth.

“Aiiieeeeee!!!!”

Chelsea’s face contorted into the most comical, horrified look I’ve ever seen, as she realized right away that cold, plain pumpkin is not a delicious treat but something pretty disgusting.  And she immediately started to cry.  To make matters worse, my husband and I (mean parents that we are) immediately burst out laughing.  Of course, we quickly tried to cover up our reaction (which was hyping up into hilarious hysterics pretty darn quickly) in our sleeves and by turning away from Chelsea to face the sink, but looking at each other only made matters worse!

Long story short, that incident pretty much ended snacktime as our daughter dissolved into dismayed tears.  My husband and I got ourselves under control in order to wipe her down and pull her out of her chair and hug her.  And we explained that although she didn’t like pumpkin she just had, she was really going to like it later when the muffins came out of the oven!  Tears eventually subsided, and we went on our merry way.

But I should have realized then that one bad deed sometimes does beget another.  Later, when we three were all playing innocently in the living room (after having had a pretty delicious pumpkin muffin snack, I should add), Chelsea turned to me and made the demand that I knew was going to come one day, but thought I had more time before I heard it.  The statement that I knew would eventually make my heart stop, my tongue dry up and would pitch me into a state of shock.  My sweet, blond, tiny little daughter (with perhaps a penchant for revenge and a new feeling of entitlement since I had just wronged her?) turned to me with a gleam in her eye and said, for the first time…

“MAMA, I WANT A LITTLE BROTHER!”

Gulp!

Luckily, this time, all three of us dissolved into helpless giggles, first my husband and then me and then Chelsea, after she realized that what she said must have been pretty funny indeed.

That day I learned that sometimes hard lessons can be hard questions!

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