At the dinner table, Smartypants says to me, "Daddy, I don't want any more mushrooms." Her plate is full. She hasn't eaten anything. I ask her why not. She says, "Because my monkey eats bananas and Nana does to, and sometimes I eat bananas AND mushrooms, but right now I don't want to eat mushrooms OR bananas OR cheerios." Understand, there were no Cheerios anywhere near the table.

Unable to follow her logic, I say, "Very well. But you don't get any more food tonight if you don't eat what's on your plate."

She considers. It is, after all, a difficult decision for a three year old. She knows she'll be hungry, and she knows she'll want Barbie Fruit Snacks for dessert. What a conundrum.

A few seconds later, she picks up a handful of mushrooms, extends her arm away from the table, and subsequently drops the mushrooms on the floor.

Rather angry, I ask, "Why did you do that?"

She answers, "Because now they're not on my plate. I don't have to eat them."

And she smiles, impressed with her own brilliance. Once again, I've been outmaneuvered by the literalness of a child. When will I learn?


This post was originally shared on my at-home parenting blog, The Daily Writer, which has long since vanished. I’ve migrated many of the posts to this site for sentimental reasons.


Sign in or Subscribe to join the conversation.
Enter your email below to get a log in link.