Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family affair

We would never eat the dust-from-a-packet kind but even for us, weekend oatmeal is no ordinary fare. This batch began with fresh apples diced and sauteed in butter. There was the good honey, generous cinnamon, a little salt, and, de rigeur, milk. And another pat of butter on top.

I don't believe in oatmeal made with water.

And then E walked away from her breakfast, leaving an entire side of an everything bagel untouched. (She doesn't like oatmeal. Ewwwwwww.) A nicely melty butter my-favorite-kind-of-bagel bagel half. So I ate that (shouldn't waste, right?) and ladled M a generous bowl of the really yummy oatmeal. I gave myself just a little bowl. And some of the remaining apples (shouldn't waste!!).

M had about two bites of his huge, hot, delicious bowl of weekend-style oatmeal when E yelled, I'm using the pot! And then, I'm pooping! And then, Daddy, I'm pooping! Please can you come read books to me?

So when M went to sit on the floor in the doorframe of the bathroom he had a stack of kiddie books in one hand and his bowl of oatmeal in the other.

Mental head-count: I knew what E and M were doing, and I looked for L -- and found her playing in the stuffed animal basket. I sat down with my apples and oatmeal and the Sunday Washington Post magazine, and happily began ignoring everything else.

So when M finally got my attention he already sounded like he wished he'd had it for a while. "Could you help!!??" E was still sitting. L had crawled over and was trying to stick her hands in his oatmeal.

I grabbed a kiddie spoon out of the drawer. I could have just picked up L and played with her elsewhere, but I like that she likes our oatmeal. I want to cultivate that. I sat down in the hall next to L on her hands and knees next to M in the doorframe next to E on the toilet. I fed her small mouthsful of the oatmeal surplus in my bowl with the green spoon and gave myself the apple pieces with the stainless steel. (It was a rough dice--the pieces were just too big for her. And I wanted them!)

But L got impatient and when I was distracted for a second, talking to E, she stuck her whole hand in my oatmeal bowl. (Apparently this is what she had been trying to do to M that had prompted the original plea for help.) Success! she emoted with her cheeky grin and her handclaps--her handclaps of oatmeal splats that sent breakfast flying on the floor, the walls, and into E's lap. So pleased, so quick, she then reached back into the bowl again. L's oatmeal hands and L's oatmeal face and L's oatmeal house all blurred across my vision as she began to clap her hands against my legs and suddenly:

I was wearing OATMEAL PANTS.

M futilely tried to pry my pajamas out of L's fists and that is when E stopped squealing at our plight long enough to inject her own plot arc: Mama! I'm done pooping and it's time for you to wipe my TUSHIE!!

I hope you all have a good breakfast, too.

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