Somehow, there are certain bites of things that always taste best. The first bite, the last bite. This morning I realized that there’s another bite that always tastes best: the bite you don’t get. The series of events that brought this to my attention I refer to as the Toast Episode.
At 4:30 this morning, all of my children got up (how do they know when I stayed up too late and could use an extra hour of sleep?) They wanted breakfast. Patrick wanted muffins, Matthew wanted toast. There were no thawed muffins, so I lied and told Patrick we were out of them (I know, I know, I’m going to Hell for lying to my children). He agreed to toast instead.
I took the bread out of the package, and put one slice in the toaster, then the other. Patrick wailed in protest. You’d have thought I was smearing the bread with sulfuric acid and insisting he eat it.
“No, no, no, no, no! No in toaster!”
“You just want it like this?” I asked, holding up the slice of bread.
So I put it on a plate and handed it to him. “There you go,” I said.
“’Ahnt pieces,” he insisted. (Translation: I want it cut up into pieces.) So I cut the piece of bread into squares, put it on the plate, and put it on the table in front of him. He looked at it like a scientist who had stumbled on a very common and not very interesting specimen.
“I don’t suppose you could have told me that before I cut it into all those small pieces, could you?” I asked rhetorically. I spread each little square with soft butter and returned it to His Majesty.
“Butter,” I said.
Jam. Fine. So put a tiny dot of jam on each little piece and set the plate back down in front of him. About this time, Matthew’s slice of toast was toasted, spread with butter and jam, cut into pieces, and set down in front of him. Patrick looked at his “toast” and then at Matthew’s. Clearly Patrick’s didn’t measure up, even though I gave him exactly what he asked for.
He reached over to Matthew’s plate while Matthew wasn’t looking, and took a piece of toasted, butter-and-jam spread bread off of it and ate it. Matthew looked back just as the square disappeared into Patrick’s mouth.
“Ahhhhhh, give it!” Matthew whined.
I intervened and explained that the piece was gone.
“All gone!” Patrick repeated proudly.
Matthew sulked. Clearly that was the very best, most delectable square of toast on the plate, perhaps the most delectable in the entire history of toast. And it was gone. All gone. And Patrick got it. I’m going to have to comb the phone book this morning and see if perhaps there’s a support group I can take Matthew to.
The fallout from this is that as soon as I post this, I’ll be thawing some blueberry muffins. I’m not sure Matthew could endure that kind of crushing blow two days in a row.