Emma loves pancakes. Until recently she was a purist, adamant that the pancakes not contain any other items. Ours were not the pecan-raisin pancakes or the macadamia-banana pancakes, just pancakes, plain, drenched in pure maple syrup. One weekend in a moment of elated inspiration I dumped a container of blueberries into the batter only to watch Emma’s face crumple into sobbing tears of despair by my act of betrayal. I tried, on a few more occasions, to add something to the batter, hoping to expand her limited repertoire of foods. Each time Emma refused to touch the pancakes and I learned my lesson. Don’t mess with Emma’s pancakes.
And then we had my cousin and her two girls over for a slumber party one weekend. We had discussed the “weekend pancakes in the morning routine” prior to their arrival. When Liesl and Lily arrived they produced a plastic bag filled with chocolate chips.
“We brought chocolate chips for our pancakes,” Lily solemnly informed me.
“Great!” I said. I looked over at Emma. “Look Em, Liesl and Lily brought chocolate chips for our pancakes tomorrow morning!”
Emma peered suspiciously at the bag.
“We can make some with chocolate chips and some plain,” I said cheerfully.
Emma said nothing, but there was no mistaking the look of despair on her face.
The next morning we heated up the griddle and the girls and I got out the pancake mix, milk, a whisk, bowl and the chocolate chips. The girls crowded around, taking turns pouring the milk into the pancake batter and stirring everything together. I poured some of the batter onto the grill, making sure Emma would have two pancakes before Liesl and Lily dumped most of the contents of the baggie into the remaining batter. Emma watched in resigned silence.
“It’s okay Em. I’ve made you some without the chocolate chips,” I said. “Look, they’re right here.” I prodded the plain pancakes with the spatula.
When the pancakes were all cooked I said, “Hey Em, how about trying just one pancake with chocolate chips?”
“No!” Emma said loudly in her sing songy voice, edged with panic.
“Okay. How about one bite?” I offered her the corner of one pancake sullied with a chocolate chip.
“One bite, Emma?” Emma said, looking as though I’d just offered her someone’s intestine.
“Yes. Just one bite,” I said.
Emma reached out and took the offered piece, very reluctantly she smelled it, then placed a tiny piece in her mouth.
“Is it good? Do you like it?”
“Yeah!” Emma said. “Okay, okay, one more bite?” She looked at me expectantly.
“Okay. Sure,” I said offering her another piece.
Again she ate it.
“Hey Em, how about you take the rest of this pancake and eat it with the Liesl and Lily?” I said, going over to the dining room table and placing her plate down next to her two cousins.
Emma then proceeded to eat the entire pancake along with the other two plain pancakes.
The next weekend Emma said, “Pancakes with Mommy?”
Yes! Come on. Let’s make pancakes,” I said.
“Pancakes with chips?” Emma asked, rooting around the cupboard for a bag of chocolate chips.
“Let’s see if we have any,” I said. “Otherwise we will go to the store and buy some.”
“Have to get some chocolate chips,” Emma muttered, still searching. “Here they are!” She exclaimed holding up a bag.
Emma looks forward to Saturday and Sunday mornings with unadulterated excitement and anticipates our pancake mornings by saying on a Wednesday morning, “Sleep wake up, sleep wake up, sleep wake up, pancakes with Mommy!”
“Yes! We will have pancakes Saturday morning,” I answered.
“Sleep wake up, pancakes with Mommy!” Emma said the other day, hoping to trick me into making pancakes with her on a non-weekend morning.
I was tired and not paying attention, “That’s right,” I said.
Emma jumped up and down. “Pancakes!”
Then the realization I’d made a terrible blunder hit me. I explained why we couldn’t make pancakes; it was a school day, we wouldn’t have time, the bus was coming, etc.
Now it is a given the pancakes we make will include chocolate chips. Last Saturday morning I asked, “Hey Em! What about adding sliced bananas with the chocolate chips?”
“No bananas,” Emma said.
On another Saturday I asked, “Should we add some blueberries?”
“No blueberries,” Emma said. Then offering an alternative she added, “Do you want pancakes with chocolate chips?”
“Sure, Em,” I said.
“Yes, pancakes with chocolate chips!” Emma said.