I've started the neurotic nesting thing, where I'm cleaning things with a toothbrush and re-folding everything in the linen closet. I worked hard on Saturday (after the fabulous pony party), and I worked even harder on Sunday. In the afternoon, Paolo refused to nap and Sam went on a bike ride. Me, I wanted to sit down, read the paper, and do the crossword. And I didn't just kind of want to do this; I really wanted to do this. I'm not sure why, but that 30-minute break between cleaning and starting dinner would make or break my satisfaction with life, and it hinged on the crossword. I pulled out Paolo's town rug, helped him pick out cars and trucks to run along its roads, and I sat on the floor with my paper and pen to be close by while he played.
Paolo thought it would be a lot more fun to crawl all over me, flick the paper, and generally be a complete nuisance. I coaxed, I demanded, I begged, I bellowed; he would not leave me alone. So the mature adult in the room crumpled up the paper, kicked it, and stormed into the kitchen to start dinner prep. The Menace followed me, repeatedly asking if I was happy and if we were friends. After the hundredth time I answered in the negative, he launched into a steady stream of how he was not happy, he was really just not really happy, and he was not my friend anymore. Once his chatter escalated to rudeness, Paolo got a scolding about the proper way to talk to one's mother and went to the living room to pout.
With all the extra prep time, dinner was pretty wonderful. I made fettucine with shrimp in a tomato cream sauce, an artichoke with lemon-butter dip, and blueberry cobbler for dessert. The not-quite-apple-of-my-eye, aka the Crappy Eater, had never eaten shrimp before. Not only did he eat the pasta without complaining, which is a tropical vacation in itself, he raved about how great it was. Then he wanted to try the "leaves" Sam and I were enjoying. We showed him how to peel a leaf off the artichoke, dip it in butter, and scrape the tender bottom with his teeth. And he did it, and he loved it. He declared artichokes to be his favorite food forever and asked to have them again and again. He thanked me for the tasty dinner and put stickers on my hands for doing such a great job.
I did finish that crossword much later, Paolo and I ended the night the very best of friends, and I got to see him take another step toward a life of food appreciation.
You get what you need.