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Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Nutella Battle

Nutella---who doesn't love that chocolaty hazelnutty stuff?  Freddy and Janey are both huge fans.  Janey is SUCH a huge fan that we are forced to hide the jar of it, so that Freddy can actually have enough for his favorite lunch sandwich to take to school.  The hiding place, in a drawer of an otherwise non-food storage bureau, worked well for almost a year,  until the day of the Great Lost Screwdriver Set Incident, which resulted in all of us having to do a huge search for the aforementioned set.  One of the places I looked was in the drawer with the Nutella.  I had hoped Janey hadn't noticed what was in the drawer, and we didn't move the jar.  That was about a week ago.  This morning, Janey was watching as Tony made Freddy his sandwiches, and she started begging for "butter", which is what she calls the Nutella.  Tony gave her a little, on a spoon, as if we tried to be more conventional and put it on bread or something, she would be very careful to only eat the "butter" off the top, and would drop the bread on the floor.  So we save the middleman and just give it to her straight, not too much, but a little.

Janey was in the other room when the Nutella got put back.  Tony left for work, which got Janey upset, and she I guess decided to calm herself down with a little snack.  I heard a telltale sound of a drawer opening, and sure enough---Janey was opening the secret Nutella drawer.  She knew exactly where it was.  I told her "No more Nutella right now!" and put the jar on top of the refrigerator, our last place left for putting things Janey can't have.  She immediately got a chair and dragged it over to the fridge, in my full view.  I said "NO, Janey!" in my firmest voice.  She completely ignored me---it was like I wasn't even talking.  Janey is good at ignoring, but usually she will stop for a minute, or will imitate me as she goes on doing what she was doing, but today, she was a girl on a mission, and didn't even slow down.  I of course grabbed the jar and held it and said "I SAID NO MORE NUTELLA".  Then I turned the top so it was on as hard as it could possibly be, because for now at least, I'm stronger than her.  I set it on a regular shelf, figuring the jig was up anyway, and I might as well not have her risking her life climbing to get it.

Then I sat back and watched.  Janey of course grabbed the jar right away.  I didn't say anything, just waited to see if the top was on hard enough.  Janey used every fit of force she could to try to open it.  Her face turned red as she worked as hard as she could, but she couldn't do it.  Then she surprised me---she took the jar and banged the lid of it on the floor hard three times---exactly what she has seen me do when I was trying to unseal a tough jar and get it open.  I was very surprised she had observed that trick and saved it in her mind.  She tried again to open it, and then went to the drawer, to look for the jar opening rubber circle.  She couldn't find it (as it's been lost for a while now, like the screwdriver set), but she said "CIRCLE!  CIRCLE!" which was another surprise---she had a mental picture of what she wanted, which I don't think I've ever been sure she had before.

After all that, yes, I did give in.  I opened the jar and gave her a few small spoonfulls.  She seemed satisfied and didn't try to get the jar again, at least after she saw I had screwed the top on very tightly again.

It's always interesting to me how much I can learn about Janey by just observing her, especially when she's very motivated to get or have something.  It's also scary.  At some point, I think she will be taller and stronger than me.  She is showing signs of having the occasional height that pops up in our otherwise short family.  What will I do when she is able to get at everything, open everything, when her ignoring my "nos" becomes even riskier?  I just don't know.


Jess said...

Wow what a story! One I could even relate to a little. However ciena has learned to be very, very sneaky with food. It's a pretty big problem at our house because she gets up in the middle of the night and looks for food to bring back to her bedroom. It's incredibly frustrating!

I think it's really neat how Janey knew to try all your little tricks. It's crazy what our kids pick up on simply by observing.

Becca said...

It's fascinating that Janey knew and tried your tricks when she had the motivation to do so! It also must be somewhat frustrating to wonder how much knowledge she really has stored in there, waiting for the right circumstances (motivation + ability) to bring it out.

1 out of 64 said...


And we LOVE nutella at our house (although I'm not sure Willow has ever tried it).