It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Contrarian and Peer Pressure and I have NO IDEA what this was all about

Vegetarian stir-fry for lunch today: tofu, onions, garlic, celery, snow peas. Everyone is enjoying, no sound round the table but diligent chewing.

And chewing.

And chewing.

“Malli?” I address the girl who has been chewing without swallowing for at least four minutes. “Do you like this?”

“Yes.” And she probably does. She’s eaten about half her portion.

“Are you sure? Are you maybe all done?”

“No.” A little drool escapes from the packed mashed tofu in her mouth.

“Shall I take your bowl away?”


“Are you ready to go play?”

“No. I eating.”

All right, then. Clearly she adores this meal, and is merely savouring the flavour. Nigel begins to slide off the bench. His bowl is empty, but he and I both know he’s not quite free to go yet.

“Nigel, is your mouth empty?”

He doesn’t risk speaking, merely nods. Uh-huh. “Open up. Let me have a look.” Mashed tofu and celery greet my gaze. “Nope, you’re not done.” Now, Nigel knows the drill, but I decide to elucidate for Malli’s benefit. Maybe a little vicarious learning will occur! “Swallow that down into your tummy. When your mouth is empty, you can go play!!!” The last two words are said with great enthusiasm.

He proceeds with some cheerful chewing, swallows with gusto, opens his mouth. “All gone!” he chortles, and hops off the bench. Oh, what a good role model!

“Yes, indeed, away you go.” Big smile and a hug for Nigel. Any vicarious learning, or even vicarious motivating happening yet??

Nope. Malli’s taken this all in. She watched, listened, even smiled a tofu-filled smile when Nigel smiled. But. She’s still got that mouth of mash. I’m not quite sure what’s going on here. She’s not evidencing distaste, she’s not upset. She’s just not.swallowing. I’m not going to force her to eat more than she wishes, but she may not leave the table with a mouth full of food. Not that she wants to leave the table, mind you…

A few minutes later, Nigel calls to her from the living room floor.

“Go pway bwox, Mawwi?”

“No, Nydle, I eating.”


She nods and opens her mouth. Yup, it’s still there, all right. Nigel has an agenda, though, and he’s pursuing it.

“You follow you eating, come pway bwox.” (tran: You swallow your food, come play blocks)

“Okay, Nydle.”

There is an audible gulp, she gapes her open – EMPTY!! – mouth in my direction, and scampers off to play blocks.

All’s well that ends well, I guess.

January 19, 2007 Posted by | Mischief, the things they say! | 9 Comments