Sunday, July 27, 2014

Broken glasses and empty tallies

Benjamin is always eager to eat—always—and so it was that he found himself alone at the dinner table, which Miriam had set with care—glass dishes for Mommy and Daddy, plastic dishes for Rachel, Benjamin, and herself.

He sits at the head of the table since that's the only place a chair will fit (we have benches running down the long sides). Andrew and I flank him because sometimes it takes two caregivers to get through a meal with a toddler. Rachel and Miriam argue about who gets to sit by which parent. That was a long way of telling you that Benjamin was left all alone with glassware in his reach. 

I can't remember where I was or what I was doing when it happened. All I remember is that Benjamin was singing to himself about being strong. This is an obsession of his lately. 

Did you open a door? That's strong!
Did you lift something up? That's strong!
Did you operate machinery of any kind? That's strong!
Did you push really hard when you were going potty? That, too, is strong!
Did you say the word 'big'? If you did, you probably also meant to say 'strong'!

So, Benjamin's up at the table singing, "Shong! Shong! Shong!" when there's a tremendous smashing sound. 

In order to demonstrate his strength, Benjamin had slammed one of our glasses down on the table as hard as he could, it shattered, and glass went flying everywhere. It was all over the table, the floor, and his lap.
Noticing the mess, Benjamin began to clean it up the same way he cleans up every mess he makes at the table—by smearing the mess all over the table. This is a fine (though incredibly annoying) habit when all you've spilt is milk or mashed potatoes, but when you're smearing glass shards...? Well, that's just a bad idea. 

"Benjamin, stop!" Andrew said, running over. He lifted Benjamin up, brushed him off, and set him down away from ground zero. I took over comforting him while Andrew cleaned up some of the mess and when he was happy again, I joined in. We swept up, we mopped up, and then we did it again (but I still managed to find a stray piece of glass with my foot a couple of days later—though thankfully I was the only one hurt with this latest catastrophe). 

"We're down from twelve glasses to seven," I remarked while we were cleaning.

"Who broke the other four?" Andrew asked.

"You," I answered simply.

"Did not!" he said.

"Did so!" I said.

"No. I broke two," he conceded. "Maybe three."

"You broke four."

"No. I'm thinking about it now and I only remember breaking three glasses."

"Four, honey," I gently corrected him. "You have broken four of our glasses. You broke the two small glasses unloading the dishwasher. Remember—you 'just picked up the glass and it shattered.' That happened twice. And then you dropped a tall glass on another tall glass in the sink and they both broke."

"That's right!" he said. "I broke four glasses but only three times."

He's certainly efficient.

After Andrew's double-glass incident Rachel got out a whiteboard marker and announced she was going to keep a tally. I think it got erased before I took a picture of it but it said something like this:

Broken things:
Dad | | | | dishs [sic—she hadn't learned the "add an e" rule yet]
Ben |       dish

Benjamin threw a bowl on the floor last October (and still hasn't lived it down (I don't think he remembers doing it (though Rachel certainly does))), so that's where his first tally mark came from. He's just trying to even things up!

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