Friday, April 15, 2011

Yogurt emergency

We got into the toddler room and as usual, the sweet little girl S. who loves to mama up all her peers grabbed G's back out of my hands. She is the self-appointed unpacker of G's food. She unzipped the bag and set it on the counter and got distracted by another little boy who had taken off a shoe. She retrieved it and returned it to him. I'm not sure he really wanted it, but he took it.

And may I just say, there are few things funnier than a room filled with one-year-olds. For the most part they're still non-verbal but they have intricate rituals, like unpacking someone else's lunch or knowing that your buddy will find your shoe for you. They communicate with urgent eye expressions and forceful hand gestures and well-timed grunts. They're so awesome, those one-year-olds.

I signed G in on the sign-in sheet and hung his jacket in his cubby and found his lunch bag, open, but not unpacked. G stood next to me with his own urgent grunts and grabs. Little man can not function unless he starts his classroom day with his breakfast yogurt. The kids officially all eat a breakfast together at 9am, but it was only 8:50 and G never cares. He needs what he needs. (Never mind that he'd already eaten half a bagel and half a pear. There's no question he's worked for that snug waistband on his pants.)

I pulled out applesauce and set it on the counter. G shook his head at me, uttered his new favorite word, NO!, and kept his hands outreached. I pulled out his chicken and set it on the counter. NONO! I pulled out his pasta-corn combo. His eyes looked desperate. I pulled out one milk cup, two, three. Silently, he pleaded.

I panicked a little. Where was the yogurt?

One of the lovely husband's loveliest qualities is that when he's home, he packs the kids' school lunches. I never know what they have until they unpack unless he and I happened to have discussed it. But wouldn't he have warned me if he was sending me into the trenches yogurtless?

G was holding his empty bag upside-down and shaking it, looking for anything to fall out. I felt tremendous guilt. Last night just before bed I was hungry, and I ate -- you guessed it -- a yogurt. It's not one of my usual snacks but it was right there and so simple and only dirtied a single spoon...

G looked at the teacher who usually feeds him. She stood there expectantly, but she didn't have his yogurt. He looked around for his friend S., but she was busy stacking the blocks that another boy enjoyed knocking down. He emptied his empty bag again into the air. He screeched, and sunk to the floor.

I tried to hand him his applesauce. He pushed my hands away and screamed louder. I tried to pick him up to console him. He flailed and stopped my hands from encircling him. This was shaping up to be a no good, horrible, very bad morning.

And then S. noticed his distress and ran over. Wordlessly, like almost everything they do, she reached up to a tray tucked back on the shelf. Though she usually empties all of G's food dishes straight into the fridge, today she set his morning snack aside so it would be ready for him. She just hadn't told us-- because she couldn't.

G smiled at her and she smiled at him and wordlessly, he thanked her. Then wordlessly he turned to his teacher and announced that he was ready to eat. Wordlessly, he dismissed me and gave his full attention to the thing that mattered in that moment most -- his beloved yogurt. Pin It