So James prefers his food small. He's not fussy about texture - he'll eat a chip, a yogurt, a banana, a chicken nugget, hot or cold, soft or crunchy, with equally reckless abandon - but he prefers the item in question to be cut or torn into pieces the size of, say, a candy corn. My personal theory is that since he inevitably crams as many of those small pieces into his mouth as humanly possible, he wants them that way to facilitate the plate-to-chipmunk-stuffed-mouth process. (His people have neither confirmed nor denied.)
One thing James does NOT like, however, is to be involved in the piece process. He prefers, thankyouverymuch, to have the staff present his comestibles pre-cut or torn, and if left with no other recourse but to take a chunk off of a spoon or fork proffered to him, he will take the item in its entirety rather than bite it into the size piece he prefers.
So the other day, the weather finally turned nice, and we embarked on one of the most dreaded quests known to mankind: Family Day Out. (Yes, there is a logical flow to this subject change. I promise.)
That's right... we all piled into the mini-van (respectfully known as the short bus around here), and headed out on an hour+ drive to Woodstock for a day of playground, woods-walks, fine food-eatery, and an assault of the mall up there, which has better stuff than ours. (Stuff = good.) There was the obligatory impromptu picnic at McDonald's when we discovered we were all starving to death and unlikely to complete the trip without immediate nugget-based nourishment, and then we arrived in Woodstock and had a spectacular good time on swings and extra-tall swirly slides (the Devil's big accomplishment) and see-saws and playing in gigantic piles of dirt (James) and somehow getting co-opted by a local t-ball team and playing a game with them (Number One.) We wandered down to one of our favorite local food establishments late in the afternoon only to find it disappointingly changed, and consoled ourselved with a leisurely meander through Target, where we acquired a kiddie pool of epic scale, and a hose to fill it with. (Hooray! Stuff!) We found the Mr. Smoothie and had frozen concoctions. We made out like bandits in the Old Navy clearance section. We spent quarters on silly rides. Life, in short, was good. No one cried. No one threw up. There was even a marked lack of whining!
And were we content with this? Did we say to ourselves, "Selves, this has been a day of lovely weather, and a remarkable failure to tantrum on anyone's part... let us away homeward before the enchantment ends?"
No. No, we did not.
Flying in the face of convention and our budget, we instead called Number One's Dad & his girlfriend, and demanded that they come have dinner with us at the local diner - to which establishment we had not been since James was about 6 months old, despite having been serious regulars before that. (They make a MEAN burger at the Liberty Diner, let me tell you...) They agreed (FOOLS!) and we all met up and received one of the warmest greetings I've ever gotten from anyone from the staff, were ushered with much fanfare to a table in our regular waitress' station, and treated like royalty for the night.
So, what a wonderful day! Amazing happiness and delightful sunshine and family bonding and stellar service, yippee! And then... IT happened.
James, who had been entertaining himself with crayons (thank you, waitress Sue) and the back of his paper placemat, reached for a breadstick his sister was about to eat. In a moment of utter parental perversity, we didn't interfere. With infinite deliberation, he grasped it firmly, slowly brought it toward his face, held it up to his eyes for a more thorough inspection, and then, in what can only be labeled an Easter miracle... took a bite.
And chewed it up. And swallowed it.
And then took ANOTHER bite.
You all can keep your screaming 2-year old maniacs and shouting senior citizens who happily inhabit the other diner tables... my kid took a real bite and ate it :)