One morning I got into an argument with my toddler about porridge. More specifically, about porridge ownership.
“Do you want some porridge for breakfast?” I asked.
“Okay.” [Opened the cupboard to get the oats]
“Want Weetabix instead.”
“You want Weetabix? That’s fine. Mummy is going to have porridge, though.”
[At this point, I could have stopped to explain that my money paid for the oats, the milk and the blueberries that go into the porridge, so technically, it’s MY porridge. In fact, everything that she thinks is hers – her bed, her stuffed animals, her toys – is actually mine. Or my husband’s. But she’s a toddler with a limited grasp on economics, so instead, I said this:]
“Can you share your porridge with me?”
“Please? It’s nice to share things, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is.”
[We were at a stalemate. I tried another tactic.]
“What do you think Mummy should have for breakfast instead?”
“Mummy’s cereal.” [She meant muesli, which is my go-to weekday breakfast, along with Greek yogurt and berry compote.)
“Mummy doesn’t have Mummy’s cereal.” [I did, actually, but I was out of yogurt and berries, and I wasn’t going to have muesli with milk like some kind of animal.]
“Mummy eats Mummy’s cereal.”
“Mummy is going to make some porridge.”
“No. My porridge.”
[I probably should have continued pressing the whole sharing-is-nice angle, and thus turned this irritating morning exchange into an opportunity for learning, but fuck it, I was hungry.]
“Want some tasty pan?” [Pan is the Spanish word for bread.]
She got distracted by the bread, I got to make my porridge, and when I brought it out to the table, she acted like the whole exchange had never happened. Instead, she talked quite extensively about one of her favourite topics – the fact that our cat Milo has caca on his butt.
[Caca is the Spanish word for poo. Along with pan, it’s one of the few words she says exclusively in Spanish. We’re failing pretty hard at this whole bilingual thing.]
She is obsessed with his perceived lack of litter tray hygiene and apparently thinks this is a totally appropriate thing to discuss over the first meal of the day. And I just kind of went with it, because I was just happy to finally be eating my porridge.
Later that night, we spoke to my husband on the phone. He was away doing fieldwork, so I was on solo parenting duty for a few weeks. I explained the porridge incident to him while he was on speakerphone.
“I said no,” my toddler butted it. “Mummy want porridge, I said no.”
“Yes, you did say no,” I said. “But anyway, here’s what…”
“I said no. I said no. I said no.”
“Hey, I had Weetabix for breakfast this morning too!” my husband said, trying to change the subject.