What’s On Your Plate?

It’s a little slow around here, especially compared to the marathon that is the holidays. Today there weren’t any presents to wrap or unwrap. No holiday cards to address (Oh, who am I kidding? Tiny Prints does all the work for me). No holiday tunes to belt out. We said goodbye to the beach and flew home with sand in our suitcases. I’m hoping the fairies show up soon and wrap each ornament individually and put away the tree. Le Sigh.

So Piper and I spent some time this afternoon mulling the new year over a bowl of spaghetti. It’s what she asked for when she came in the door from her first day back to school. “Mom, I had a great day,” Piper announced, creating a pile one foot from the door of backpack, coat, mittens, scarf, lunchbox, hat. “Now, I need some spaghetti. Bolognese sauce, please.” I understand. I had made the same thing earlier for lunch. Great minds think alike. The new year needs comfort food. Parmesan makes everything better.

Piper ate and told me about her new school project called “What’s on your plate?” where she’ll be learning how food actually gets onto her plate. It’s her first big research project. She’ll create a Power Point. She’ll present it by herself to an audience of parents. There will be cookies, of course, but she’ll know that the cookies are made from flour which comes from wheat which is grown in the ground. It’s cool stuff. I’m pretty sure I sat and made Playdoh snakes my entire kindergarten year. Times have changed.

“I’m really starting to think about my food, you know?” Piper said, gazing down into her spaghetti goodness. “Like this came from you, right?”

“I boiled the pasta and made the sauce, but I didn’t grow the wheat myself,” I admitted. “I bought the pasta from a store. Someone else grew the tomatoes.”

Piper twirled a good amount around her fork and sprinkled on more cheese, which comes from cows and is aged two years in Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano region.

“Well, wherever it came from, I like the sound spaghetti makes when I slurp it,” she said, smacking her lips together for effect. “It sounds like someone is KISSING!”

Touching Base

Piper is a big fan of her daddy.  He walks on water.  She waits by the door like a puppy when he’s gone and rushes to his open arms with a “Daddy!” even if he’s just taken out the trash.

I have to remind her regularly that I did in fact bake her in my body for 10 months and nurse her for a year and a half.  And that doesn’t even account for that whole labor and delivery thing. You’d think that might earn me some loyalty. To Piper, I’m base. She simply wants me there, omnipresent and available.  Base is safe, but it’s kind of boring.

On a recent drive to pick up her daddy at the Metro, Piper offered sage advice and a strenuous warning.  We were waiting in the car and Piper asked, “Do you think Daddy kissed any other moms at work today?” Because apparently only other moms are my competition.

“I doubt it,” I answered.  “Your daddy wouldn’t do that.”

Then Piper delivered the gut punch that only a four-year-old can.

“You know there are a lot of moms prettier than you.”

I took a nice, long breath, which is the only thing I’ve really learned in almost 10 years of parenting.  Take one breath before you speak.  A sacred pause.

“True,” I acknowledged.  Because it is true.  There are prettier moms than me. “But Daddy is committed to us.  He wouldn’t kiss anyone else.”

Piper was quiet in the back seat for a minute.  Then she saw her daddy walking across the platform toward our car. She put her foot on base and dug her toe in for good measure and whispered, “You never know.”