As we pulled into our driveway the other morning after preschool Baby Chickadee requested a trip to Subway. Knowing full well our previous experiences of her barely eating her food from Subway I asked what she wanted from there.
Of course I knew what she wanted, just as when she asks for McDonald’s it is McNuggets; when she asks for Dairy Queen it is chicken strips (Because my kid prefers chicken strips to ice cream. Let that weirdness sink in to your brain for a bit.).
“Chiiips,” she responded as she grinned.
I looked at her grinning, hopeful face and thought about how I always put her off when she wants to do fun stuff. If she wants a candy bar: “Let’s wait until Bubba and Sissy get home and then we’ll all get one!” If she wants a pop: same song, second verse. After my successful date with Little Missy a couple of weeks ago I thought, Why not? She deserves times where she gets to pick what we do.
So I made her a deal that if we went inside our house and ate a healthy lunch then I’d take her to Subway for chips.
And she did eat a healthy lunch! Willingly did so, even. Quickly after our cheesy eggs we walked outside, got out her stroller and took a nice stroll down to Subway, skipped the sandwich line and ordered chips for her and drinks for the both of us.
And then the mood changed without warning. As I got her root beer--THAT SHE ALWAYS ASKS FOR WITHOUT FAIL, I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH SHE LOVES THE ROOT BEER--she backed up against the table behind her, crossed her arms over her belly and said, “I no want dat!”
That was the beginning of a very contentious outing at Subway. Lots of explaining to her of the natural consequences that if she didn’t say whathaveyou again in a nice way then I was going to throw away her chips and we’d go home. She’d work on a nice attitude for a minute and then the crankiness from inside her would seep out again.
Right when we got home I put her down for her nap.
The next morning I was still slightly irritated about the Subway experience and thinking on it, when I realized that our mornings are filled with preschool or MOPS or book club or cleaning the house or playing with friends. Baby Chickadee and I have little time to ourselves where we’re not on a schedule to get somewhere or get something done.
So that morning I skipped book club--that we both love because we both spend time with friends, but it was another scheduled event--and Baby Chickadee and I ran errands in Wichita, without a schedule. She giggled and we ate where she wanted, we walked around the Bradley Fair lake just like she enjoys, I let her pick out her coat and winter shoes.
Turns out, my kid gets tired earlier in the day than I realized. So spending time with her when she was fully awake and on her game gave me hours with a delightful and silly little toddler. Sometimes the answers to my frustrations are so obvious.