So I go up to the kitchen with my four-year-old niece 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 my niece, “How about a peanut butter and jam sandwich?” I mean, what kind of kid doesn’t like peanut butter and jam? She 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 niece has been waiting. No problem.
I can’t stand her staring eyes, so I suggest she make the sandwich herself, an idea she fully embraces. She 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 she attempts to spread it onto a slice of bread. She just sort of bats the bread with the peanut butter, not really spreading it on, but she gets the job done. She dips the knife in for another load, learns fast and scrapes the excess off herself, 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!” She grabs the two slices and slams them together into a sandwich. “Perfect!”
She might not be proud of herself, but I am, so I hoot and holler and give her a congratulatory shake on the shoulder that nearly knocks her off her chair, while she nonchalantly bites into her peanut butter and jam sandwich.
Four-year-olds bite into sandwiches like nobody’s business. I love it.
I pour her a glass of milk, and she’s happy. So am I.