Driving home from preschool, apropos of [I thought] nothing, the following issues from the carseat in a piping soprano:
"Mom? When we git home, kin I haff a ba-nana?"
Well, glory be, the child actually requested something healthy.
"Yes, dear child, of course you may have a banana."
But it's not that simple.
He'en: "Wiff a cut on da side? So I kin peeel it?"
Mom: "Sure, we can cut the side."
He'en: "An' I kin peeeel it?"
Mom: "Yes, definitely."
This already has gotten complicated enough that I know some further clarification is required.
Mom: "Now, do you mean, cut into pieces and then with cuts on the side so you can peel the pieces?"
He'en: "No, a hoe [whole] ba-nana."
Mom: "Ok, a whole banana. With a cut on the side so you can peel it?"
Mom: "You do know that I will have to cut a little around the top, to fix the banana so you can peel it."
Mom: "So is that OK?"
Mom: "A cut at the top. Then a cut down the side."
OK, this sounds simple enough, by He'en standards. We arrive home. I pack He'en, school bag, lunch bag, today's craft, and a plastic fire helmet all up the stairs (leaving a peacefully sleeping Dragon Girl in the car, because Dragon Girl is Child #2 and we do things like that). An immediate round-trip secures Dragon Girl in her little lounger chair (I add that for those who are reaching for the phone with Child Services on speed-dial), and then I get about the business of the banana.
Mom [holding the banana and demonstrating]: "So, a cut here, and here?"
I make the careful slits in the peel.
He'en: "No! Moa cuts."
Mom: "Um, where?"
He'en: "Dere. And dere. Yike Brandon's mom cuts his ba-nana in his yunchbox."
Oooh, like Brandon's mom does it. Yes, of course. Now we get to the heart of the matter. I had no idea that yunch envy started so young. This is now completely out of control even by my flexible standards, but I got myself into it, and the only way out is through. So I soldier on, although I cannot help thinking that Brandon's mom must be a very patient person.
Finally I have the banana skin slitted to specification. I hand the banana to a very satisfied He'en and dash off to -- at last -- use the bathroom.
Sweet peace reigns for about as long as it takes to say three-two-one-MELTDOWN.
From the kitchen: "WAAAIILLLLL!"
From the bathroom, sotto voce: "Name of God, now what?"
With visions of knives and skull injuries flashing into my brain, I dash from the bathroom to the kitchen. "He'en?! He'en, what is wrong?"
She is sobbing over her banana, which reclines, vivisected, on the counter in a sodden nest of peelings.
He'en [gasping with grief]: "It isss cut all da way fwew."
Stifling the urge to make banana paste out of the whole thing with one swift hand movement, I hug her instead and carefully inspect the offending banana. It is, indeed, cut all the way through. When I scored the skin, I cut too deeply, and the banana fell into neat sections as soon as she took off the peel.
After kissing and comforting with small effect, I remembered a trick from my own mother, bless her. I dished up a little sour cream and dished up a little brown sugar. Then I showed He'en how she could dip her poor battered banana wedges first into the sour cream and then into the brown sugar. This adequately mollified/distracted her. I turned to kitchen cleanup quite pleased with my mad mothering skills.
Until I heard, with a residual sobbing hiccup:
"Pease can I haff anuzzah ba-nana?"