Thursday, October 26, 2023

Orange you glad?

The thing about setting goals, in my opinion, is that the best time to start is now (not next week, not next year). So in that spirit, I offer the following story of Phoebe, who is forever getting into food (and everything else, for that matter). 

She recently learned how to operate the water and ice dispenser in the fridge, for example, so while she's somehow always been able to coerce several people to give her a drink of water (and ice!) and thus end up with several cups of water sitting out all over creation, her independence has exacerbated this issue. We now have cups of ice/water sitting out all over creation. I have tripped on cups on the stairs, in the middle of the hallway. They've been knocked off stools and counters and benches. The child goes through as many cups as she possibly can. 

So thank goodness her siblings have figured out the "coaster system." We don't use the coasters because we care about surfaces so much, but because using a dedicated unique coaster helps everyone else remember which cup they've been using. So everyone else uses one cup per day and Phoebe uses...20 or so. 

The solution here might be to own fewer cups, but I digress.

Allow me to digress further (while we're still somewhat on the topic of the fridge) to tell you that she has also desperately wanted to open the fridge. In order to reach the fridge handles, she needs a stool. Then she has to climb up and pull on the door with all her might. 

This was actually not a problem until the other day when she succeeded in opening the door. It flew open with such force that it knocked her off the stool she was standing on. She was very upset, but she's wiser for it and hasn't tried to open the fridge again since (though I'm sure that will change after her pride heals).

Anyway, it's not just water that she gets into. Apples are common prey for her, as are tomatoes. She can somehow chew granola bar wrappers open. much cereal. She gets into cereal all the time. 

In addition to cups of water all over the house, we usually have three or four bowls of "snacks" that Phoebe has either gotten for herself (or convinced one of her siblings to get for her), and an apple or two that has a bite taken out of it. 

But now fall is in full spring and...

Perhaps that wasn't the best way to word that. in full...spring? 

But now fall is bustin' out all over, which means that it's time to celebrate citrus! We've said our goodbyes to summer fruits like peaches (frequently victimized by Phoebe) and watermelon (fairly impenetrable by Phoebe) and are welcoming pomegranates (granted, not a citrus) and oranges (those are a citrus).

We've gone through several bags of "cuties" and/or "Mandarin" oranges in the past month, partly because we're a large family and we can go through large bags of produce, and partly because Phoebe massacred a billion oranges while we weren't paying attention the other day. I think I was just helping Benjamin with some math and—to his credit—Alexander tried to interrupt to tell me that Phoebe was doing something bad. But my kids interrupt all the time so I just said, "You're interrupting. I'll come and see when I'm finished here."

And maybe I should have listened more carefully and let the boy speak.

Or maybe my kids should stop interrupting except in emergencies. 

Or maybe both (or maybe the second option would lead to the first option)?

Anyway, when I was finished and came to see what he wanted, it was just that Phoebe was "doing that."

He pointed to more orange carnage than I ever care to see again. She had mangled probably a dozen or so oranges. There was pulp, juice, and peel everywhere

So it seemed like a good day to mop the floor. 

It also seemed like a good day to teach Phoebe how to peel "cuties." Because if she can peel her own orange, then she'll not make such a mess when she gets into fruit, right? Sure. 

So I taught her how to peel an orange. Sometimes she needs help getting started and then wants to do it "Phoebe own, Phoebe own." I'm always happy to give kids a little independence, though it's usually best when that independence is coupled with some hilarious behaviour. This was precisely the case with learning how to peel oranges. 

I walked by the dining room the other day and saw Phoebe happily peeling an orange for herself (a great activity because it takes her about 20 minutes, but she is determined and will stick with things until she's done). But I could see she was muttering to herself while she was peeling so I paused to listen.

"Riiiiip! Riiiiip! Riiiip!" she rasped as she tore off chunks of orange peel. "Riiiip!"

I tiptoed away to fetch Rachel to listen (because some things are better shared) and we listened to her rasp out a few more "Riiiiiips!" before tiptoeing away to laugh about it. 

"Is she speaking Parseltongue or something?" Rachel giggled (referring to the snake-like language in the Harry Potter universe)

Now our biggest (?) issue is convincing Phoebe to take care of her peels properly. She likes to throw the pieces, "Frow! Frow!" but we remind her to make a nice pile instead. And then she often puts them in the recycling bin (since it doesn't have a lid) rather than the trashcan (which she can't open "Phoebe own"). But we're making progress. 

Yesterday while I was preparing pomegranate to eat with dinner, Phoebe sat beside me and worked on peeling an orange. She now will say "peel" sometimes instead of "rip," and when she's not creepily whispering "riiiiip" to herself, it often comes out as "bip." 

She kept telling me, "Mommy bip apple. Phoebe bip nornange."

Her vocabulary (and grammar!) has been improving by leaps and bounds in recent weeks. Her appetite for both food and knowledge, it seems, is insatiable.

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