The Kitchen Job
When kids feel challenged by the arrival of a new sibling, they sometimes cope with the changes in unpredictable ways. Avey has dabbled in several methods: screaming, usurping parental authority, smothering her younger sibling with love, and rising to the occasion. Her most recent coping mechanism has become routine; she has settled into a life of crime.
It began on a warm, sunny Easter Sunday. The fates had introduced a plethora of chocolates mixed with caramels and crisped rice into Avey’s possession. The clash between her sweet tooth and nutrition-minded mother was destined to follow. With a stash of sweets in the cupboard, and a pushover of a father tall enough to reach them, it was only a matter of time until the Century’s most cunning four-and-a-half-year-old made her move.
She began a habit of what she calls “sneaking” a treat from Mommy. Usually, it works in the following manner: Avey will finish her meal and ask to whisper something into my ear while Kira is in the other part of the room. She uses the code word, and we both peek over our shoulders at Mommy to see if she’s wise to our dastardly plan. Once we’ve negotiated the terms of the scheme, Avey will play lookout. She does a wonderful job of it, 9 times out of 10 explicitly telling Kira “Do not come in the kitchen. We’re just rinsing off our hands [suspicious giggle].”
We’ve learned that Kira is not nearly as naive as Avey imagines, but that does not deter Avey’s resolve. Luckily, Kira usually plays along.
Perhaps in a few years Carver will take my place as the fall man, and Avey will have perfected the lookout role. Still, as long as they give me a piece, I’ll keep my mouth shut.