Like Milk?

POSTED BY JESSE

One thing I have learned in the past year of living in the Tanner house: kids are fascinating. I hold no degrees in doctoral science, but I feel like I’m always studying the behavior of the Tanner girls. And I’ve concluded they are unpredictably fascinating.

Most mornings the routine is that Danny wakes the girls, gets the lunch order straight, starts his coffee, and hands off the lunch order to me so he can go get dressed (unless I’m slow rising–then he starts making the lunches). I come out and and make/finish the lunches and, depending on who comes down in what order, aid in the breakfast prep (aka cereal distribution).

Much like making lunches–where I know who will take what sandwich, and which fruit, and which snack–I know what to expect when it comes to breakfast: DJ will have the most sugary cereal in the cabinet, with milk. Stephanie will usually have the same sugary cereal, though she may have a less sugary cereal, also with milk, sometimes with a glass of milk or a glass of water. Michelle will pick from any array of the available cereals (though Lucky Charms is typically a lock) and she eats it dry, with a glass of water.

Always. Every breakfast of every school day I have been here, Michelle has eaten her cereal dry. Until yesterday.

She came down for breakfast, the first one down. She poured herself a bowl of Lucky Charms. And she asked me to pour the milk for her.

“What?” I said, in a dramatic, shocked voice. “You’re having milk on your cereal?”

“Yeah,” she replied. “I don’t know, I just…thought I’d try it.”

And she repeated it today. And she announced it to my parents when we had dinner at their house last night.

I don’t know exactly how long her habit of eating her morning cereal dry stretches back–she says she can’t remember either. So why the change? Who knows?

And that’s what makes me marvel at watching these ever evolving mini-people. Who knows what they’ll like or dislike tomorrow or why? What spurs change, even small ones, in kids? Does it mean she’s starting to try to be more like her big sisters? Did she wake up that morning knowing she wanted to try it? Or did it just hit her as she poured the cereal? Or had she been thinking about it for weeks and finally made the decision?

And also, is there something I do every day that I could do a 180 on and like just as much?

I suppose calcium advocates vs. weight nutritionists will have to determine whether the additional milk is good for Michelle’s diet.

Overheard At The Breakfast Table: Boyfriends Beware!

POSTED BY JESSE

Unless I’m driving to school, my usual morning task is surveying who is ordering lunch, who wants a packed lunch, and what they want. The only constant is that Michelle does not order lunch from school, except for Fridays (Chick-Fil-A day).

For the other two, there are a number of factors to consider. For Stephanie it is typically a matter of what’s being served for lunch that day, and what better options might be in the fridge. For DJ, it’s a lot about the food, but also some about what’s happening at school that day, and, honestly, what kind of mood she’s in. Which led to this funny conversation this morning:

Me: “OK, lunch for Michelle, Stephanie’s doing soup and salad bar. DJ, you want a lunch or are you ordering?”

This guy was definitely hauling lunches in 2nd grade

DJ: “I don’t know. I really don’t want what’s for lunch today but I reeeaaally don’t want to carry a lunchbox around all day.”

Michelle offered a solution: “You should get a boyfriend. Then you can make him carry around your lunchbox for you.”

She sounded as if she had experience in using this tactic, so I had to inquire, “Michelle, you got a boyfriend carrying your lunch around?”

She answered with no, but then–I kid you not–I listened to the girls list the boys in their class that they were certain would carry their lunches around, and which ones had actually been spotted carrying other girls’ lunches, regardless of the relationship status.

Look, opening doors, pulling out chairs, even carrying a girls’ books or lunch for her–all sweet things for guys to do. But I’m just giving you a heads up, fellas. If Michelle Tanner asks you to be her boyfriend, you better be clear what the expectations are.

And know that she does not order school lunches, she brings hers. Every day.

Rocks Are Everywhere

Posted by Uncle Jesse

Getting ready for school is not the easiest thing for the Tanner family, though I suspect it’s not any more or less of a hassle for us than it is for others. DJ is generally pretty efficient and autonomous. Stephanie tends to drag her feet a bit, but for the most part is good-natured and usually remembers what she needs for the day’s activities (though the addition of earrings to the equation has been a bit of an adjustment). And the “wild card” of most mornings is Michelle. One morning she may traipse down the steps before the other two, singing out loud and making jokes about my outfit. The next day, she might have a meltdown over her ribbon not matching her shoes. It is impossible to guess which it will be, but not very difficult to discern once you see her morning face.

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

One morning recently, Danny had an early meeting so the morning rush was a solo job for me. Our big task for the morning was having to transport Michelle’s class project, a giraffe in its habitat, to school. It happened to coincide with a Tuesday, which meant we also had to get piano books. And it was cold, so coats and gloves were a last minute addition as well. All of this was proving too much for Michelle, who in addition to being a little frazzled was also not thrilled about how the giraffe was looking. The other girls tried to help.

“It looks great!” said DJ.

“I’ll grab your piano books,” offered Stephanie, often a very helpful, selfless child.

But while minor problems could be fixed, Michelle had seemingly decided this was just not going to be a good morning.

“It’s falling apaaaart,” she whined, almost on the verge of tears.

“The giraffe is just heavy,” DJ countered. “You can re-assemble it once we’re there and it will be fine.” It was at least enough to get us out the door. But two turns into the drive to school, Michelle had found another thing wrong:

“It doesn’t have any rocks! It’s supposed to have rocks because I said in the report…” and the rest was hard to make out because the tears had started in earnest.

“We can find rocks at school, I promise,” I told her. “We’ll find some.”

“But…” She continued to cry.

Though my play here is typically to brush off seemingly major issues as minor ones, and though I knew it would not be difficult to add some rocks once we got to school, I made an astute assessment. This was not about rocks. This was about changing the direction of the morning, and it needed to be done before we arrived at school.

When we arrived at the next stop sign I braked a little harder than normal and threw my sister’s minivan into park. The crying stopped briefly and the other two paused, not sure what I was doing. Truth be told, I think they all thought I was about to turn around and tell Michelle to suck it up and quit crying (and truth be told, I had considered–it would have been justified).

Then, with an air of mystery, I got out of the car, left it running, walked the few steps to the small park we were passing and picked up a few rocks. Seconds later I was back in the car, and as I placed them gently next to the giraffe, with a smile and a tone that suggested I had no idea Michelle had even started crying I said simply, “See? Rocks are everywhere. No biggie.”

Like a prince’s kiss, the spell was broken and the evil morning mood was lifted, and Michelle and the giraffe lived happily ever after, rocks and all.

This project rocks.

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