The Toddler was angry. No worries. This happens a lot and for reasons I don’t understand. She gets angry when I fix waffles for breakfast, or when I don’t fix waffles for breakfast, or when the Breakfast Gods don’t bestow upon her the Sacred Chocolate Chip Waffle.

Today she was angry because of ice cream.

There are few universal truths to parenting, but the Youngest Child Dictum is one:

“Give the kid whatever she wants. Daddy’s tired.” The Finicky Appetite of the Smallest is the other. The kid generally won’t eat anything that’s not bacon or French fries.

“Hungry,” the Toddler said from her car seat. OK, so it came out “hun,” but she’s 2.

Hungry? There’s no place that serves bacon through a window. Note to self: Open a drive-through bacon restaurant.

“How about some French fries?” I asked.

“Yah, me have some Fren fries.”


Like most of my plans, this one failed because I did what I said I’d do. I pulled into a fast food joint and asked for French fries.

“No Fren fries,” my daughter said after I’d already ordered. “Ice cream.”

Ice cream? I didn’t mention anything about …

Then I knew. This was her grandmother’s favorite drive-in. Toddlers don’t know a lot of things, but mine knows where Grandma goes to get her ice cream fix.

“We’re not getting ice cream, honey. We’re getting French fries.”

“Noooo.” Toddler moods blink faster than a strobe light.

The carhop came to the window with my order. I paid then rolled up the window in a ridiculous attempt to keep the outside world safe from my daughter.

“Here are your fries.”

“No Fren fry, Da. Ice cream.”

Dear lord.

“We don’t have ice cream.” I popped a fry into my mouth. “Mmm. These French fries are good. Want one?”

There are seven toddler moods, possibly created by Disney: Happy, Silly, Dopy, Cuddly, Angry, Angry and Angry.

For some reason, she picked Angry.

“Noooo. Need ice cream.”

There’s a bit of common sense that escapes parents at times. We think because our children are old enough to feed themselves, play in the bathtub by themselves, operate the television remote control better than we can, vote, etc., they can be reasoned with. They cannot. Ever.

“I’m sorry, honey,” I said calmly as I pulled away from the drive-in. That wicked, wicked drive-in. “We just have French fries.”

That’s when she insulted me. When angry, many children younger than three will use words they don’t like when spoken to them, such as “time out” and “no.”

“You need grow up, Da,” came from the back seat.

In case I hadn’t heard her the first time, she said it twice more.

“Did you say I need to grow up?” I asked.

Silence. Showing my level of maturity, I ate another fry and made sure she could see me do it.

“Don’t eat my Fren fry, Da,” she said.

I didn’t know what was happening and, frankly, I still don’t.

“Are you going to eat them?”

I glanced in the rear-view mirror. She was smiling. “Yah, me have some Fren fries.”

Toddlers are jerks.

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