So I go up to the kitchen with my four-year-old nephew to make lunch. Normally, I don’t take care of small children on my own. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever done it. But here I am.
I look in the cupboards for something to eat. I can’t see anything I’d want to eat. Never having fed a four-year-old before, I ask him, “How about a peanut butter and jam sandwich?” I mean, what kind of kid doesn’t like peanut butter and jam? He says “Yes!” to the sandwich, and I’m standing there feeling like the captain of a ship who has to make quick confident decisions — in front of a four-year-old.
So I grab some bread, dig out some peanut butter and jam, get a knife and a plate, and put it all on the kitchen table where my nephew has been waiting. No problem.
I can’t stand his staring eyes, so I suggest he make the sandwich himself, an idea he fully embraces. He grabs the knife, shoves it into the jar of peanut butter, and comes up with enough peanut butter to choke a horse.
“— Whoa, hold on! Let’s um —” Conscious of the need to choose my words carefully, I can’t piece together a coherent sentence. “Okay, that’s a bit too much peanut butter.”
I scrape off some of the peanut butter and he attempts to spread it onto a slice of bread. He just sort of bats the bread with the peanut butter, not really spreading it on, but he gets the job done. He dips the knife in for another load, learns fast and scrapes the excess off himself, then bats the other side of the bread until it’s done.
I spread jam on the other slice of bread. “Excellent! Now let’s put it together!” He grabs the two slices and slams them together into a sandwich. “Perfect!”
He might not be proud of himself, but I am, so I hoot and holler and give him a congratulatory shake on the shoulder that nearly knocks him off his chair, while he nonchalantly bites into his peanut butter and jam sandwich.
Four-year-olds bite into sandwiches like nobody’s business. I love it.
I pour him a glass of milk, and he’s happy. So am I.