This weekend, Larry and I were making fancy jalapeno/cilantro/lime chicken and shrimp shish kebabs for a dinner party. They were aweseome. Yum. I chopped up all the veggies the night before - bell peppers, fresh pineapple, and fresh jalapenos. Olivia wanted to help so very badly, but this was one of those times that I had to tell her no, please just watch...you know, big knife and all.
She watched me intently and asked questions about every step of the process, which is par for the course with her. Why do you cut it that way? What are you going to do with the seeds? Why can't you eat that part of it? Can I taste it? Those moments are actually kind of fun - watching that brain working overtime.
When we got to the jalapenos, I stopped and made her look me in the eye. "Do NOT touch the jalapenos," I told her. "Not even the outside. They are hot, and they will burn your fingers...especially if you touch your eyes, your nose, or your mouth." Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but I really didn't want her to touch the insides of those jalapenos. I did that once when I was a little girl, and I'll never forget sitting in front of the television watching Donnie and Marie with ice on my tongue for a whole hour. It was miserable.
"Okay Mommy," she said. "I promise I won't touch." I started to slice them open and take the seeds out. "I mean it, Liv," I said, "do NOT touch this. It will really hurt." "I WON'T Mom," she said, clearly irritated.
I was collecting all the unusable veggie parts in a bowl for the compost out back, and on top lay all the jalapeno innards. I watched from the corner of my eye as Olivia slowly moved her fingers closer to the jalapeno guts. "Don't touch it," I said. I got the wide-eyed head jerk, sending the silent "Really? REALLY?" message. Well, message recieved.
I think you know where this is going. I used my third mom eye to watch her creep her hand closer and closer to those jalapeno guts. I'd forbidden it, which made it absolutely irresistible. Sure enough, she touches the insides. Her thoughts were almost palpable...I diiiiiid it! I diiiiiiid it! And nothing haaaa-pened!
I waited patiently, pretending like I didn't see exactly what she'd just done. Sure enough, not 10 seconds later, she put her fingers in her mouth.
Wide eyes. Frightened voice. "Moooooommmmmmyyyyy!"
Calm, cool and collected. "Yes, Olivia?"
"My mouth! It hurts so bad!"
You don't like to see your child in pain, but I couldn't help but feel that tiny pang of "told ya so", mixed with a little "now you've learned your lesson". She had to sit with ice on her tongue for a good hour, just like me. Stubborn... just like me.