(From the early pages of Nathaniel’s African Journal.)
So my little Janat (age 3) is convinced that true survival requires a constant intake of nourishment. Yes, she loves to eat. Always. I could swear this was a genetic hand-me-down from Daddy. Oh the pleasure of happy taste buds!
Abraham (age 2) also shares our food-fetish. If these two see me eating, they feel it is quietly emergent that they join me, that we must conquer the raging plate together.
So far, Abraham is winning in the packing-it-on department. His big belly really works for him. Still I worry about the tottery-ness of his unbalanced physique at times.
But then, he is a toddler.
Anyway, the other day, I was feeling a bit eleven-o’clock-ish (as Winnie the Pooh would say), so I decided to sit down for a quick piece of toast. With peanut butter (for its essential protein content, of course). And honey. (Because life just needs honey sometimes.)
Upon commencement, I carefully surveyed the area. No sign of my taste-buddies. Today, I would be alone as the man-of-devour.
I was up to the task.
But then out of nowhere came my little demolition team. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.”
It was amazing. They didn’t even need help up to my lap. They quite naturally and fluidly climbed into place. A little elbowing, but not much.
Janat dropped her first piece. Never mind, I could see her think, I’ll get to that later. I made my own mental note to get to it first, and to dispose of it. Three-years-old or not, our gluttony-gang must have standards.
We proceeded with tenacity and satisfaction. Very nice indeed.
At the table with us was a visiting friend. Later she commented that Abe and Janat must have considered it such a treat to sit on Daddy’s lap and eat.
Little does she know, I thought. This is our modus operandi.
With that, I went for the dropped-piece. And guess what! Janat had beaten me to it. I pretended to be frustrated, but was really quite impressed. Girlfriend’s fast!
“A treat?” I said. “I think they’d be used to it by now. I feel like our life-clock is forever set on dine-time.”
My friend smiled. Then she said something quite simple and precious: “No matter how often, I think it must always be a treat,” she said, “to sit on Daddy’s lap.”
Other early entries from Nathaniel’s African Journal: