"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When Vultures Attack

This is how I feel whenever I enter the kitchen. Buddy is almost nine and thinks about nothing but food. He hears the opening of the pantry door and he is THERE. He starts asking (repeatedly) when the next meal or snack will be an hour before. Princess is hypervigilant and thinks about nothing but making sure she's first and has the most. Or, at least, that no one got more. And Peanut and the Cuddle Bear are the middlest and the youngest, so they want to make sure they aren't lost in the shuffle.

The hard-core fact that I have never, not even once, forgot to feed someone is apparently vastly overlooked.

In the summer Josh gets up first but has the kids wait (the whole 15 minutes) for me to be available to serve breakfast. Princess haunts the kitchen like a specter, floating back and forth silently across the tiles, waiting for my coffee pot to start. Then she pounces.

Today, she made a mistake. She got a little too involved in Curious George, and the Cuddle Bear jumped her position. When Princess walked into the kitchen to haunt me, the Cuddle Bear was already immersed in yogurt and cherries. Which she had gotten by herself. I swear I could feel the panic: "oh no! Breakfast has started and I missed it! GAH! What can I do? What will make it right? I know! I'll have exactly the same thing as the Cuddle Bear! Even though that's not really what I want! Because then I won't be missing something!" The tension was palatable, I tell you.

Every meal preparation is accompanied by a tense little visitor afraid of missing the meal, making sure she has the most, evaluating everyone's plate and finding more on them no matter what the reality. I get exhausted watching it. She must by beyond exhausted feeling it. I try to allay it. I show her how I measure everyone's portion. I count rice cakes in front of her. I make sure no one gets a broken one. But I've conducted little experiments now and then, and even when I set the obviously bigger portion in front of her, she is beyond positively sure that someone else's is better. By the nature of not being hers, it must not be the best. And how do you compete with that?

Time, I guess. And in the meantime, maybe I'll give her a sheet with eyeholes to wear while I'm cooking.


  1. Kerrie, I think you might be trying to hard to "be fair". Of course, I don't understand all of the challenges you have with Princess, but I learned with my kids that they needed to learn that LIFE IS NOT FAIR, and they needed to learn it ASAP! So, Sarah got the last cookie. Oh well, someday you'll get the last piece of cake, or whatever. They're NOT going to get the same number of presents at Christmas, and guess what, when it's one kids birthday, he's the ONLY one that gets gifts! No one child should be a favorite, but even if you think you're fair, they won't!!!!

  2. I'm sure I'll relax someday. After I stop twitching. Love you.