Eva sat stirring the corn on her plate. Her head rested heavily on the closed fist of her hand. She sighed heavily, a bid for attention, and left her corn for the small pile of diced peaches. Her fork scraped against the glass plate. She glanced up, but I continued to read, ignoring the pleas for attention that I knew would just lead to an argument. It’s how we had lived for the last few weeks. She sat and sighed, I checked to see what was wrong, food would ultimately be splattered across the table and floor as I yelled at her to clean it up. My frustration would lead to tears and she would walk away, spending her triumph in giggles.
I heard the top of her hamburger bun softly thud on the floor and her even softer “oops.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. As she started tapping her fork on the plate, I recognized that it wasn’t going to work. Deep breaths, ignoring her, none of it was going to work. It wasn’t in my nature to be so passive.
I smiled, put the book down, walked to the silverware drawer and got out a small spoon. “Mama, I don’t want to eat this,” my little Eva said as I sat down opposite from her.
I leaned in close to her. “I thought that was what you were going to say.” Then leaning a little bit closer I whispered conspiratorially, “What do you think we should do with it?”
I could tell the game had changed. She sat silent, contemplating for a few seconds and then responded defiantly. “I want to make a mess.”
Taking a scoop of sloppy joes, I looked at her and said “Okay.” Watching the look of shock on her face as the sloppy joes splattered across her chest was going to make cleaning up this mess so worth it.
*** Daily Writing Practice