Monday, March 17, 2014

The Apple of My Eye

Yesterday afternoon, I was snacking on an apple. (It was a healthy choice I came to because I'd already finished the box of Caramel Delights.)

Backstory: Zuzu watches our snacking carefully now and usually demands a bite, which is how she discovered peanut M&M's on David's watch and is now a peanut M&M fiend. He sprinkles them on his popcorn and he was trying to share popcorn with her, but she found an M&M instead and, well, there was no wrestling it away from her. So we watched like hawks as she chewed it up very carefully and then, naturally, discovered that it was basically the awesomest thing she's ever eaten. She hasn't yet figured out where they are kept, and we are going to try very hard to keep it that way. Even though it's out of her reach, her whining and gesturing is so incredibly persistent that the entry for perseverance should have her photo next to it.

Perseverance: persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement [in the form of parental disapproval]. See also Zuzu Duckworth.

Anyway, I was eating an apple, she wanted some of it, and in this instance, I was more than happy to share my apple with her (Girl Scout cookies, however, require hoarding and sneaky after-bedtime snacking). We made a companionable pair, snacking on our organic produce.

When we'd gotten all the good stuff off the apple. She said "More? More apple?" and I explained, no, the apple was all gone.  Then, in a moment of wild parenting experimentation, I handed Zuzu the apple core and paper towel it was half-wrapped in and asked her to go throw it in the trash can.

Now, I know she is capable of following simple directions, but she's also quite inconsistent in doing so. I had never asked her to throw anything away before, and really I wasn't sure if she would even know what I was talking about.

"Will she do it?" David asked.

I shrugged. She's seen us throw things away in the kitchen, but have we talked about it? Does she know that's even called the trash can? I couldn't remember if we'd had a conversation with her about it or if we had named the trash can in conversation in front of her.

But she toddled off to the kitchen with great purpose, and I got up off the couch to surreptitiously follow her and see what she would do.

And would you believe it?  That little miss walked herself over the cabinet under the sink, opened the door, placed the apple core in the trash can, closed the cabinet, and came running back to join David and me in the backroom.

"She did it!" I exclaimed, my heart bursting with pride. We congratulated and high-fived her on being such a good helper. I remarked that she's going to be a really good big sister. He commented with new certainty that she's going to be able to figure out potty-training after all. Our brilliant child! Look at her follow directions and do things we didn't know she was capable of! She's so smart and independent! We are constantly amazed by her!

We spent a few more minutes discussing the brilliance of our offspring, and she lost interest in hearing her own praises and wandered out of the room.

A few minutes later, she was back.

And she was gnawing on the apple core she'd just dug out of the trash can.

That's our girl. Our little prodigy.


  1. We realized that we had been giving in to Gwen's requests to sample whatever we were eating with the same response ("Oh, all right, you can have a tiny piece.") when she started saying "Gwennie auch? Tiny piece?" These were clearly VERY important words to learn.

  2. Your apple / healthy snack reference made me laugh because I remembered my OBGYN telling me at the beginning of my first pregnancy that a pregnant woman just needs 300 extra calories a day - and she then illustrated that number by saying "that's an apple and a tall glass of milk". I thought it was funny, because I totally thought it meant a snack bag of Doritos and Peanut M&M's whenever I wanted them.

    Plus, I like milk, but only with specific items. Milk and an apple sounds kind of gross.

    Not as gross as trash-salvaged apple cores though.

  3. Go, Zuzu! There's a brief window of toddler helpfulness to toddler refusing to do anything you ask - use it to your advantage while it lasts. George used to be v. helpful at unloading the dishwasher. It was fun while it lasted. Now I have Henry for a bit!

  4. Well, I guess in order for her to know where to put it, she then knows where to go get it from! Vicious cycle there!

  5. Oh yes. B is my little minion when it comes to throwing things away in the trash. I started asking him to throw the rest of his bites away... and it oddly causes him to eat more! But yeah, he also trash digs.

    Today I asked him to throw away a diaper. He toddled off because he knows it all and has done this many times at this point. During nap today, I find that diaper sitting behind my sink in the bathroom.

    Just because he wanted to. These crazy kids.

  6. If Bode had access to the garbage can we would have trash all over the house...and a garbage can filled with his toys...

  7. The first time I told my son to throw something away, he walked about 5 feet from the trashcan and tossed the trash at the can. He missed. He picked it up, backed away, and tried again. And again, and again. Finally I said, "Buddy, just throw it away." And he said, "I'm trying!"