Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Soooooooooooooo yummy!

Those who've been regular readers of my blog will already know this. But just in case you didn't, here's the truth: The Boy, our beloved just-turned-three-year-old, has a tendency to be, shall we say, an "active" one.

That's not to say he's hyperactive, mind you; indeed, he shows none of the clinical signs of Attention Deficit Disorder and has no need for ritalin. Instead, in whatever he's doing he just keeps going and going, combining more energy than the matter-antimatter reactor aboard the Enterprise-D with the relentlessness of a faucet dripping on an otherwise quiet night.

In response to his relentlessness and energy level, we made one decision early on that has probably helped everyone under the roof at Household Thorne: for the first couple of years of his little life, we've consciously deprived him of one wonderful childhood pleasure.


Until last Halloween, that is. On the advice of sage relatives, right before last year's holiday we gave him just a couple of bits of chocolate, if for no other reason than to see how it would affect him. Needless to say we all survived; he learned that chocolate comes from grocery stores and is available only at Halloween, and in a quid pro quo we taught him how to brush his teeth all by himself.

Now, nearly one year later, we do allow a few bits of approved candy to cross his lips as an earned treat. Fruit-flavored jellylike substances are the usual treat of choice. And since he's been such a good Boy lately, on a trip to Target yesterday he and I headed for the non-Halloween candy aisle to secure a covert, "Don't tell Mom" treat.

The Boy has no trouble expressing preferences; indeed, when we arrived at the aisle, his little pointing finger immediately went in the direction of his two favorite bagged treats.

"Buddy, we're only going to get one treat today," I told him, feigning the infinite wisdom of parental authority. "So do you want the gummi bears, or the jelly beans?"

(Bear in mind the gummis were the original Haribo and not the Target bulk variety, while the jelly beans were indeed authentic Jelly Bellys. Only the best for this little one.)

"I want jelly beans and gummi bears!" he said, smiling broadly.

"We're not going to get both, Buddy. We're going to get only one," I said. Holding out the bag of Bellys for emphasis, I said "So do you want the jelly beans," I said, then shifting emphasis to the bears, "or the gummi bears?"

The Boy looked at me, clearly pondering his choices. "I want jelly beans," he said, confidently.

Hmmmmm. Usually he'll choose the gummi bears every time. I'd better confirm this, I thought.

"So, jelly beans yes?" I asked.

He nodded in the affirmative, making gigantically cute eyes at me the entire time while grinning.

"Why do you want the jelly beans?" I asked.

"Because they are soooooooooooooo yummy!" he said, still smiling. "Can I eat one now?"

Good reasoning, I thought. But we had to pay for them first, so the "eat one now" answer was indeed "no."

So, in the cart the jelly beans went. We went about our other Target business, picking up a couple of other needed items, before heading to the checkouts.

And that's when the trouble started. From observing other toddlers, mostly by hearing their screams of discontent when confronted with the candy selections at the Target checkouts, I knew this moment was inevitable. But I did not expect such symmetry of sentiment to come from our Boy.

Looking at the bag of jelly beans on the conveyor, The Boy spoke.

"I don't want jelly beans," he said, rather sternly. "I want gummi bears."

"But Buddy," I said, "you know we were only going to get one treat. And you chose the jelly beans."

The Boy activated a heretofore unseen "whine mode," voice raised, tears welling. "But I want gummi bears!" he said, even more sternly.

"Why do you want gummi bears?" I asked, looking for clarification on the flip-flop.

"Because they are soooooooooooooo yummy!" he said, still welling.

Wow. Identical reasoning attempting to justify a diametrically opposed change in position. That's reasoning worthy of a D.C. lawyer.

Well, given the Target checkout "lunch rush," we weren't about to head back to the candy aisle. And after a bit of convincing ("How 'bout no candy at all, Buddy?") he did acquiesce to the originally chosen jelly beans.

Three minutes later, finding contentment after being put into his car seat, our pleasent Boy returned, forgetting all about the gummi bears and remembering the tasty treat in our Target bag.

"Jelly beans are soooooooooooooo yummy!" he said, once again smiling. "Can I eat them now?"

"Just one or two, Buddy," I said. "We're going to meet Mommy for lunch, and I want you to be hungry."

The Boy looked at me thoughtfully. "Okay, Dada," he said, stretching out all fingers on his little hand. "Just five beans, then. Five!"