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The Breakfast Food Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
March 26, 2011

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The Breakfast Food Lesson

My child is my teacher and learning lessons from him have become very common these days. Most of the time I am blind-sided with his lesson at hand since I never know when I am in the middle of one of them. Being caught off guard actually surprises me because by now, I would have thought I would see it coming... but I do not and that is why he is my teacher and I am the student.

I had no idea that I could learn a lesson from my teacher based on food–breakfast to be more specific. Well, that is not exactly accurate either. I know what you are probably thinking at this very moment. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree and that is very true, but there is more to this story.

Every so often my teacher, my wife and I would go out to eat at one of our many local restaurants and this time was no exception. My wife expressed she had to run some errands and that she would be quick about it. She jumped in her car and drove off. Meanwhile, my teacher and I were tasked with choosing the restaurant we would dine at. I figured I would get the ball rolling by starting the dialogue.

"What should we eat?" I asked, thinking this would give me a better idea of which restaurant we would choose. 

"Ummmmm." He sounded.

"Okay, what type of food do you want to eat?" I asked in a slightly different way.

"Ummmmm." He repeated.

Obviously his input wasn't getting us anywhere, so I came up with another approach.

"Okay, then...  think about it and tell me the first place that pops into your head." I suggested.

I could tell that my teacher was thinking long and hard about it because his eyes turned from the normal shape to a narrow oblong like shape as he squinted and clutched his teeth. He then began to pace the room. Next, his pace got more intense as it turned into speed walking around the house and I knew it was only a matter of time until this would turn into a full sprint. When he was younger he had formed what I now call his indoor work out track. This track consists of three doorways connecting the kitchen, the living room and my teachings art room, formerly known as the dinning room. Luckily our kitchen has a dining area. Today his track was certainly being put to good use.

After watching this track event unfold in front of me, I had to put a stop to this madness. Did I mention the fact that I was beginning to get extremely dizzy watching this marathon race. Finally, I grabbed my teacher mid-lap in order to get him to stop. I pictured the cartoon birds flying in a circular motion around my head. I quickly snapped out of it, knowing we had to come up with the restaurant before my wife returned home. My goal was to have a place picked out before her return, and then we could immediately head out since I knew all three of us were hungry.

"We need to figure out where we are going." I expressed.

"But Mom is not home yet." He replied.

"I don't understand what that has to do with it." I questioned.

"She can decide." He voiced.

"No, our plan was to actually have the restaurant picked out before she returns." I reminded him.

"That's a good idea, and then we won't drive in circles." He giggled.

"Yeah, my point exactly." I indicated.

"Well, MY PLAN is to surprise mom, then she won't have to think about it." He suggested.

I know it sounds so cliché, but I had to role my eyes at that comment. I mean isn't that what I basically said?

"That is such a great idea." I sarcastically mumbled.  

Sometimes my wife, my teacher and I are indecisive about what to eat and where to eat. We tend to fall into the "who's-on-first" food routine as we go in circles. You know the scenario I'm talking about. "What do you want to eat?... I don't know, what do you want?... I don't care... you pick... no you pick." So the food game began and I started by throwing out a few suggestions. She wasn't in this game, but my teacher and I had a few good rounds of it.

"How about chicken?" I began. 

"N-o-o." He quickly responded.

"How about spaghetti?" I continued.

"N-o-o." He shot back.

"Turkey burgers?" I persisted.

"N-o-o." He replied in a low tone of voice.

I thought my ideas were pretty good suggestions, but as you can tell my teacher did not see it that way.

"B-o-r-i-n-g!" He finally blurted out.

"We have to eat something for dinner." I expressed.

"B-o-r-i-n-g!" He repeated.

I know we were trying to figure out what it was we were going to eat, but what I did not know at the time was I was smack-dab in the middle of a lesson that I was to learn.

"How about pancakes and bacon." He suggested.

"Ummmmm." I paused.

"Waffles and sausage." He sputtered.

"You know that is actually nt a bad idea." I indicated.

"Breakfast for dinner." He chuckled.

"Breakfast food is my favorite type of food, so why not." I stated.

He gleamed and began to strut around. I guess I would call it strutting because he wasn't dancing and he wasn't actually walking either. He wasn't strutting as if to imply how cool he thought he was, he was just happy to be eating breakfast food for dinner. During this strut, he sang a pancakes, bacon and sausage song... occasionally throwing the word waffles into the mix and that's exactly how it went, too.

"P-a-n-c-a-k-e-s... bacon... saus-age, P-a-n-c-a-k-e-s... bacon... saus-age, P-a-n-c-a-k-e-s... bacon... saus-a-a-a-ge... aaaannnddd WWAAFFFFLLEESS." He sang this over and over and over as he strutted around the living room. 

At this point, my head was buried in my hands. Apparently he took notice of this because he ran over to where I was sitting on the couch. He pulled my hands away from my face and sang the pancake-bacon-sausage-waffle song "at" me, just a few inches away from my face.

"love breakfast f-o-o-o-o-o-o-d, I l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e breakfast food for din-n-n-e-r!!" He continued to sing.

Soon thereafter my wife returned from her "to-do's". My teacher couldn't wait to share the news of the "what and where" we chose to eat. The funny thing is he and I actually didn't even discuss "the where" we would be dinning part, so I was interested in hearing this bit of information.

"Mom, mom, we figured it out. We decided what we are eating for dinner!" He expressed. He told her that we are eating breakfast for dinner.

"Where are we going little man?" I asked.

"Where do you think silly, the Pancake Palace down the street." He revealed.

I was confussed by where he meant because I wasn't sure of restaurant called the Pancake Palace. I looked at my wife and she shrugged her shoulders, and then whispered, "I-HOP" to me.

"Oh, Right!" I commented

"Come-on, come-on, let's go people." He danced as he headed for the door and disappeared into the garage.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: remember it can be fun and exciting to relish in small pleasures.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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