Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Colorful Plates and Open Debates

In the not so distant past, Scrumptious thought I was the prettiest and bestest Mummy in the world. She hung on every word and was convinced I knew everything. There was a mini hero worship thing going on and it was nice, let me tell you. During that same hero worship phase, Scrumptious was one of those kids who genuinely loved eating her little green trees (broccoli) and to see her face light up when she tucked into a bowl of little cabbages (brussel sprouts), well, you'd think it was Christmas morning. But sadly, the rapid march of time changes everything. Scrumptious has removed those rose-tinted spectacles and I am now the Mummy-who-makes-her-do-things-she-doesn't-want-to-do. 'Because I said so' no longer cuts the mustard. She openly debates the merit of my requests and demands a more compelling argument. The price we pay for a good education these days is truly shocking.

So it should not come as a surprise that my first commandment, 'Thou must eat all thy vegetables, because I said so', was under scrutiny last night at dinner. Scrumptious loaded up on the chicken and the rice but avoided the red peppers, carrots and little trees.

'Scrumptious, you need to eat your vegetables,' I said.
'Because they're healthy.'
'Yes, but chicken and rice are healthy too.'
'True. But you need vegetables too because they have important vitamins and nutrients that you won't get from chicken and rice.'
'Like what?'
'Like Vitamin C.'
'I'll have an orange then.'
'No, you won't.'
'Look, this is not a democracy or a debate (I can't believe I just said that). You need to eat your vegetables. They'll make you strong and they'll give you big muscles.'
'But I don't want big muscles, Mummy. I want to look like you, not like Daddy, silly.'

Great, I'm not only losing a debate with a 5-year-old but I'm no Madonna and I'm silly. So I rummaged around in my handy Mummy bag of tricks and came out with an old favorite.

'Well,' I said. 'A colorful plate is a healthy plate. And that makes it a happy plate.' I sounded all chirpy and June Cleaver-ish, as you do when negotiating a trap set by a 5-year-old.

The colorful plate thing always worked a charm when I was growing up. But, then again, I wasn't very clever. Scrumptious sat there thinking about what I said, her brow furrowed, and then she got that special gleam in her eye--the cheeky, evil one. She jumped up from the table and headed to the cupboard where we keep the 'stash', care packages from Uncle Sam in America. She rummaged around and came back to the table with a packet of M&Ms. She poured them onto her plate and tossed the brown ones aside.

'There, I'll eat all the colorful ones. And that makes it a Happy Meal.' It might have been cuter if she hadn't looked so smug.


  1. Sounds as if she's cut out for a career as a lawyer!

  2. I hate it when I lose a debate with my four year old. Your daughter, she's good!

  3. Nappy valley girl: Not sure if that's a good thing or not! Guess it will keep me on my toes.
    Brit in Bosnia, I know! It's so frustrating!

  4. You should write a book! HA Ha! you are as enjoyable to read as The Shopaholic!