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Monday, 14 August 2017

Evidence that Fran now knows the difference between plain and dry



Last week, I stayed overnight at my grandchildren's home to look after them while their parents went to a friend's wedding. Elijah is five. Phoebe is three.

This meant giving them breakfast on Friday morning.

It also meant finding out that Elijah could teach me a lesson in kindness.

A short play, set in a living room

Scene 1

Me: Have you finished your cereal, Phoebe?
Phoebe: Yes. Can I have toast now?
Me: What would you like on your toast?
Phoebe: Just plain, please.
Me: Okay, I'll go to the kitchen and make that. Elijah, have you finished your cereal?
Elijah: Not yet.
Me: I'll do your toast after Phoebe's. What will you have on yours?
Elijah: I have Marmite, please. I love Marmite the best.


Scene 2

Me: Here's your toast, Phoebe. Plain, as you said. Elijah, I've put some toast on for you. It'll be ready soon.
Phoebe: (looks at toast in horror, as though I'd served up rats' brains sprinkled with cayenne pepper)
Me: What's the matter?
Elijah: You've put butter on it, Grandma.
Me: Doesn't 'plain' mean ...
Elijah: No, plain means no butter.
Me: Dry toast?
Elijah: Yes.
Me: With nothing on it at all? I thought plain meant, no Marmite, or no peanut butter.
Elijah: No, it means plain.

(There is a pause, while Phoebe looks at me with trembling lip as if to say 'You're going to ask me to eat this, aren't you? I know it in my bones,' and Elijah looks at me as if to say 'If she tries to make Phoebe eat this, we are going to have Armageddon.')

Scene 3 

Elijah: Actually, Grandma, I think I'd like toast with just butter today. (Moves Phoebe's plate to his place.) Phoebe can have my toast when it pops up.


How wise Elijah was, to select kindness and mercy in order to save the situation. He knows Phoebe better than I do. He lives with her. He knows what 'plain' means in Phoebe-speak. He knew she would have expected me to understand. He looked at the wider implications. He sacrificed his own preferences to achieve a win-win situation for both me and Phoebe.

The world needs more Elijah.

I sat there, watching him eat toast without Marmite that he loves the best, and watching Phoebe eat cardboard.

'You're a kind, kind boy,' I said.


He knew that, for Phoebe, toast with butter is rats' brains with cayenne pepper.

And so do I. Now.



Later that day, finding stones to make, as Phoebe called them, 'wipples'. 

26 comments:

  1. Elijah will be a wonderful husband and father some day. Children surprise us so often don't they?

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    Replies
    1. They surprise us and shame us!!

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  2. Aw, lovely post. And well done Elijah x

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    1. Thanks so much, Mandy! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for sharing on Facebook!

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  3. Hi Fran, this is the first time I've visited your blog (I'm sorry I can't remember the circuitous route that brought me here), and it's made me laugh. A lot (two words). We have the same sense of humour - warped, I think- and are the same age. And I also bought a guitar with my first wage, although I still can't play a chord. Your description of yourself also fits me perfectly, I'm sad to say!

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    1. Hi Brenda - thanks so much for visiting and having a read. I really do think you should get guitar lessons now, after all this time :)

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  4. Well done to Elijah indeed! I hope you'd have been kind enough to eat Phoebe's buttered toast for her, Fran, if Elijah hadn't done so. :-) Our son, Mark (14), doesn't like butter either, and has to keep on telling people not to put any butter on toast, bread, sandwiches, etc., etc.

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    1. A no-butter life is probably a healthier one! For me, I love the stuff, especially in cooking. I have been taken in by all the cookery programmes. 'Just pop in a knob of butter' they say, and in goes half a pack.

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  5. This was sweet, Fran!!

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    1. Thanks, fishducky. So are you ;)

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  6. What a kind big brother. I had a rather sweet conversation with my friend's six year old grandson about whether he had marmite sandwiches dry or with butter.

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    1. Dry Marmite sandwiches? Gosh, is that even possible? What did he say?

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  7. Elijah, we need your kind in the U.S. to help us deal with . . . someone who is too nasty to mention.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. The person you don't want to mention was on my mind as I wrote the post ....

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  8. I agree. We most definitely need more Elijah's in this world.

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    1. I will get onto my son and his wife about it :)

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  9. Which is why I remain an optimist. With the likes of Elijah in the mix, the future looks so much brighter.

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    Replies
    1. He's such a sweetie, Martin. Kindness in his marrow.

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  10. Great post. Great grand son. And obviously great parents 😁 A ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. Thanks! X

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    1. Thanks, Mrs J. I guess I will keep learning from him. Out of the mouths of babes etc.

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  11. We should all have a kind big brother , even the kind big brothers . The world would be so much nicer .

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    Replies
    1. Yes - Big Brother kind of has different connotations these days. Thanks, Orwell!

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  12. Awwww. My big brother wouldn't have been paying attention to any of that.

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  13. Elijah is very observant. He watches everything! This is somewhat alarming. I have to behave myself ...

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  14. Replies
    1. Indeed he is. Such a cool kid.

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