This morning, Toddler was hungry. And like a good mom, I was on it! I surveyed the fridge and concluded that expired condiments, however varied and cleverly combined, would not make for an appropriate breakfast.
"Want a bagel?" I asked.
Her blue eyes lit up and she crooned a singsong, "Yes, Mommy!"
Her enthusiasm was golden. Her love for me, palpable. But there was a hitch. The closest bagel was at the deli around the corner. News flash: not all Manhattan moms keep bevies of bagels on hand.
"I will get you a bagel with pink dip dip!" I proclaimed, referring to strawberry cream cheese, something she's tasted once without gagging.
Indeed, a victory in the making. I explained to her that we would have to wait for this bagel. "Mommy will call. And then a very nice man will ring the doorbell and bring your bagel."
Savvy Toddler, well-acquainted with her decidedly undomestic mother and the wild world of Manhattan food delivery, nodded. So I put in a quick and efficient order, and Toddler, Baby, and I resumed our playing. A few moments later, voila! The doorbell rang just as I promised.
"It's the Bagel Man!" I shouted. Toddler squealed with delight and Baby clapped. Uh oh.
I paid for the delivery and handed Toddler her bagel. The dip dip was white, not pink. This did not fly. Toddler eyed the bagel (whole wheat because I actually care about my kids), sniffed it, licked it, and then said, with gusto, four words I hear about seventy-six times a day: "I don't like it!"
During Toddler's careful examination of that innocent bagel, my peripheral mommy vision afforded me a revealing view of Baby who hovered behind Toddler, salivating, reaching for that bagel. So when Toddler rejected that poor little bagel, I wasn't worried because I knew it would have a good home. I took the bagel from Toddler and handed it to Baby. Very quickly, I did the self-serving and utterly empirical mommy safety math in my head, Yes, she's only 9.5 months and she only has four full teeth and two half-teeth, but bagels are pretty durable and yet soft and indeed make wonderful teething toys! Right.
Baby was blissfully happy with her bagel. I fixed Toddler a bowl of Veggie Booty. All was good. Until. Until I realized that my little Baby had decimated half the bagel in about forty-five seconds. Until I realized that those delicious cheeks were stuffed with vast bagel bits. But I didn't panic. No. I extracted the whole wheat chunks from her tiny mouth. Which did not make her happy. No, it caused a scene. One which distracted Toddler from her educational television program and her Booty. One which reminded Toddler about her bagel.
"I want my bagel back." Given that Baby was thisclose to choking on a golf ball sized piece of bagel when I intervened, this seemed like the perfect time to shift custody of the orphan bagel. Except. Except that when I took the bagel from Baby, she erupted into piercing screams. Except that when I returned the bagel to its rightful owner, Toddler looked at the brutalized, soggy mess and dissolved. Except that when one of my girls cries, the other ups the ante. So there they were, side-by-side on that crumb-strewn floor, in matching pastel polka dot PJs, tears streaming down matching cheeks, divided by twenty-two months and one Bad News Bagel.
Advice for Fellow Parents: Before you buy bagels, count your kids. A ratio of 1:1 is highly recommended.
To understand why it is debatable whether I should blog on Wednesdays, read the following: