Parenting 101: Avoid uncut apples - Denny Scott editorial
Last week, as I sat down with my healthy dessert of a Granny Smith apple after dinner, I ran into an odd situation with Mary Jane.
My wife is currently on the night shift at her job so, after 5 p.m., it’s daddy-daughter bonding time at the Scott house.
That night, as stated, I didn’t turn to ice cream as dessert or look forward to chips or popcorn as a late-night snack, I decided that, since I had spent a good portion of my day being healthy and walking the grounds at the annual Elementary School Fair, I would continue being healthy and have a Granny Smith as dessert.
I suppose, before I continue with this story, I need to impress upon people my daughter’s love of playing catch (or I guess fetch, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing her to a dog). The first time we passed the rubber ball enclosure at Wal-Mart, or the first time we passed it once she was old enough to sit in the child’s seat in the cart, my wife made the happy mistake of passing it too closely. Mary Jane quickly reached out and claimed two of the balls as her own. The duo made their way home that day since Ashleigh says she’s never seen Mary Jane so happy with a toy.
Since then, those large rubber balls, alongside several other smaller ones we had around the house prior to her birth, have become the centre of two of her favourite games: one is to bring me a ball so I can throw it and she can watch it bounce, retrieve it and repeat. The second is for her to lift a ball up over her head and drop it behind her, at which point she puts on her biggest smile and starts clapping her hands until everyone else does the same.
So, there you have it. We have tonnes of toys that have been given to us that she does love. We have so many books that, even when she does start speaking and reading English, she probably wouldn’t get through them in a week. We have movies that will enrapture her, at least until she nods off. Nothing, however, has kept her attention like playing with a ball.
Back to last week: I sat down in our living room armchair after feeding Mary Jane, then myself, then seeing to bath time and was looking forward to relaxing for a few minutes.
Mary Jane had other plans, and tried to grab the shiny green ball (my apple) from my hand before I told her no. She kept staring at me, hoping I would throw the ball. Hoping to convince her that it wasn’t a ball, I took a giant bite out of it, showing her the white flesh of the apple under the green skin.
My plan, however, didn’t pay off as my daughter looked at me, for what is probably the first time, with something on the verge of disbelief mixed with disgust.
Instead of seeing the Granny Smith wasn’t a ball, I can only imagine she deduced that I had taken one of her favourite kind of toys and taken a giant bite out of it.
After the disbelief and disgust faded from her face, she walked away from me and sat on the floor.
Soon enough, Jeopardy was on and, like every good Canadian, Mary Jane can’t help but listen when fellow Canuck Alex Trebek talks.
I had put the entire incident out of my mind when she started walking and playing with some of her other toys. I figured she had forgotten all about it thanks to the lights and sounds that come out of the toys she was playing with.
Unfortunately for one toy, I was wrong. Apparently, the image of me biting into a shiny ball was burned into her mind and she just couldn’t put it behind her.
It wasn’t long before I saw her pick up a smaller ball and start playing with it and I figured she must have also put the incident behind her. Soon after, however, with her back turned to me, I heard her make a noise that could only be described as smelling skunk for the first time.
She turned around, tongue out and hands out, and looked at me with the greatest (and most serious) look of concern I’ve ever seen on such a tiny face and, well, see for yourself:
In case it isn’t apparent, Mary Jane had decided if daddy could take a bite out of a shiny green ball, she could take a bite out of a red squishy ball. Suffice to say, she discovered the material wasn’t quite as tasty as a Granny Smith and that was before I dove across the room to fish it out of her mouth.
Hopefully, that taste will remain with her and stop her from trying to take a bite out of any other toys.