I was in the bathroom last night when I overheard the following conversation...
Bill: You want to do WHAT?
Allyson: I wanna poke holes in the bread with the pencil.
Bill: Huh? No, you can't do that to the bread.
Allyson: But Mama let me do it.
Bill: I'm gonna have to talk to your mom about that. That doesn't sound right.
Sitting on the toilet, I pressed my lips together to stifle my laughter. Oddly enough, Allyson was telling the truth, but it seemed too bizarre for Bill to accept.
On the way out, I closed the door quietly and then padded silently up the stairs to fold clothes. I figured if Bill didn't see me for awhile, he'd forget about the whole conversation, and I wouldn't have to explain why I'd allowed our daughter to poke holes in a piece of bread with a pencil.
My plan succeeded; both of us forgot the whole thing... until bedtime, when I spotted what I thought was some peanut butter toast in our bathroom trash.
"Did you know there's peanut butter toast in the trash?" I asked Bill, who was brushing his teeth.
He stared at me blankly. After he'd rinsed his mouth, he said, "Are you thinking I can tell you why the toast is in the trash?"
"Well, yes," I said. "You just fed her some toast for her bedtime snack, and I thought maybe you put it there. I just didn't want the ants to find it."
"She ate all her toast," he said.
I'd already removed my contacts, so I leaned in closer to investigate. "Oh, it's not peanut butter toast," I said. "It's just a plain crust from...." My voice trailed off, and my lips started to twitch.
"Where did the crust come from?" Bill asked, eyebrows raised.
"Remember when Allyson was telling you about poking holes in the bread?"
"She was telling the truth?" he asked incredulously. I nodded. "What did...? Why would...?" he shook his head and rolled his eyes.
Then the whole story spilled out between giggles.
I'd been rushing around to get us ready for the gym that morning--why do so many of my adventures begin that way?--when Allyson started waving around some new racecar pencils that she'd pilfered from Ethan's room. She was muttering something about making a traft [craft]. She might have mentioned something about bread also, but I didn't really hear her because I was too busy constructing a makeshift door hanger out of twisty ties and an old rubber band for my note to Ethan, who was late coming home from a sleepover.
So I did what I always do when I can't figure out what Allyson is talking about: I agreed with her. "Sure, honey. That sounds fun. But we'll have to wait until we get home from the gym. It's time to leave now." I figured she'd forget all about her plan by the time we got back.
The first thing she did when we walked back through the door was grab a shiny new pencil, still unsharpened. "I need some bread, Mama."
My reaction was pretty much the same as Bill's that evening, but Allyson reminded me that I'd promised she could make her traft when we got home. I didn't want to break my word to her, so I pulled out the heel from a loaf of bread and handed it to her. "Just this once," I said. "We can't do this any more after this."
It pained me to waste a piece of bread, even a rather stale crust, due to my mild food-wasting phobia. After all, I could have frozen that crust to make homemade croutons or bread crumbs. (I always have a giant Ziploc bag of crusts in my freezer.) "It will be okay. We have enough to eat," I told myself in my calmest, most soothing inner voice.
"What are you going to make?" I asked cheerfully.
Allyson sat down at the kitchen table with her racecar pencil and her bread crust. "Watch!" she crowed, her excitement contagious. She proceeded to poke neat little holes all over the bread. "See?" she said proudly when the bread had just the right array of randomly placed holes.
"Very nice!" I called after her as she carried away her prize. "Don't eat it!"
Of course, I should have followed up to see what she did with her bizarre "craft," but I have to confess that my attention span is pretty short. I didn't think of it again until I heard her asking Bill if she could do it again. Obviously, she hadn't heeded my admonition that this was a one-time deal.
Bill stared wordlessly after I'd finished my story. "Weird," he said finally, with a shrug.
I laughed sheepishly and kissed him goodnight.