There comes a day. A day all parents hold out for. A day so sort after, that when it appears, much rejoicing and happiness pervades the household.
The day Missy first started eating without it resembling a scene from a B-grade, High School movie food fight, was a day to celebrate. Sure, there are still spillages; absent-minded turning of the spoon upside-down even happens to me occasionally, but generally, Missy can now feed herself.
This is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, my wife, who Missy usually insisted on being the spoon-jockey, gets a part of her life back, and can enjoy a cup of tea at Missy’s dinner time, instead of enjoying a hair full of mashed banana. The problem (don’t tell my wife) is that now she can feed herself, she actively copies us. That’s actually brilliant, if Missy just watched my wife.
Instead, we have situations like breakfast: an expertly emptied bowl of Captain Crunch chocolaty bits by newly nimble fingers still contains a small lagoon of sugary milk. Missy looks at mum, smiles, picks up the bowl, and drinks it; with all the gusto of a condemned criminal watching the clock run down.
My wife, calm as always, turned to me. “Where did she learn that?” Luckily, I was quite busy licking the remains of the baked beans off my plate, so was unable to attend to her query.
“Kids, eh?” I called over my shoulder as I made my escape, “who knows where they get things from?”
But children, apart from plagiarizing all the wrong things, (missy never notices when I use a fork for eating, but use it for scratching, and she is onto it in a flash), are also the ultimate snitches. Even before they are aware of it themselves, they’re mum’s double agents; spilling the beans on all us dads. Missy might laugh hysterically as I demonstrate how to burp the National Anthem, but beware: at the first opportunity, she will report back to her Handler, CIA style.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Try telling that to your wife as your child chugs orange juice from the carton. Trust me, it won’t fly, or even get forward movement. Once they become conscious of the power of information, all sorts off issues arise. No more surreptitious chocolate bars for dad and eating with my hands is out. I have to be vigilant.
So what is the counter intelligence operation for the spymaster and her miniscule mole? Denial, that’s what. Without firm evidence, every covert operation becomes mere conjecture. Sure, everyone knows the truth, but stand firm, deny all (and remember to wipe the chocolate from your face). Another way is getting your child into school as soon as you can.
“Oh dear, what are they teaching her there?” or “see what she has picked up at that school?” They are both excellent ways of seeding doubt. Sure, my wife knows the truth, but as Missy burps out “Back in the USSR” I need all the help I can get.