Delaina Feeds the Squirrels
So, I stepped out of the shower yesterday, and walked into the kitchen. I felt something crunchy under my feet. There on the floor were scattered a few, as I soon learned, tiny handfuls of peanuts. On the girls’ table was the open can from which the peanuts had come. My first reaction, regrettably, was irritation. So I asked Sofie just what the peanuts were doing on the floor and had she spilled them. She informed me rather matter of factly, though with a trace of defensiveness (reacting to my irritated tone), that no, she had not spilled them, but that Delaina had spilled them on the floor.
I then turned to my younger daughter, who looked up at me guilelessly from her big brown eyes, and answered yes to my question of whether she had spilled the peanuts on the floor. “They’re for the squirrels,” she said earnestly.
At that moment I experienced that quintessential parental moment of ambivalence: exasperation . . . and joyful pride at the creative imagination and ingenuity of my daughter’s intellect. I hove a sigh, though backed by a wide grin, and explained, “Sweetie, we feed the squirrels outside, not inside.”
But my daughters are truly children of their parents, and Delaina had one more argument to levy by which to close the case: “But Daddy, they’re eating them!”
I was reduced to silence in the face of such a matter-of-fact summation. And so Delaina continued to play, and I reached for the broom and dustpan.