I thought I had it under control. I explained to Carrie the rules of the restaurant we were going to visit. She nodded her understanding of what I was saying and then proceeded to explain her point of view.
As 1500 hrs. approached, I gathered up the birthday invitations that were just spit forth from the printer and slipped them into an envelope to be delivered to the daughter. She showed up here last night with some decorative paper and a request. She wanted invitations conjured up and ready by today. I'm always amazed at how easy they think this is especially knowing that they are incapable of producing them. She flatters me with her confidence in my computer abilities.
Early this morning the phone rang and she asked if I had them done yet. Sighing and trying to not snap at her, I quietly explained that this would take some time. It took most of my day. I changed the picture, changed the font a few times, moved it around to fit the small space, changed the layout a few more times until I finally was satisfied with the product. I phoned her and told her I would pick Carrie up at the bus stop and deliver her and the invitations.
Of course this meant that Carrie was going to want to come home with me. We gathered up her clean uniform and her book bag and returned to the house.
A few hours later we got back into the car to go to dinner. A buffet was our destination. I explained to Carrie she was not to go to the buffet unless we were with her. She nodded then said
"Nana, I've been here before and I know what to do."
She followed us around the buffet, up and down the aisles selecting what she wanted. I had cautioned her to not take big portions. We don't want to be wasteful.
Back at our table, she enjoyed the shrimp that had been prepared by boiling, stewing and rolled in coconut. The seafood selection is vast and Carrie enjoys anything that has spent time in the sea.
She wanted to visit the buffet again and I told her she would have to wait until one of us was ready to go back. The husband was ready before me and as she left the table with him I again warned her to be careful what she chose and how much.
All went well. We obeyed the rules of the restaurant that states "no children allowed to visit the buffet unsupervised."
Carrie wanted to know if she could have some ice cream after dinner. She had finished what she had put upon her plate so I agreed to go to the ice cream bar with her. She assures me she can get her own ice cream and proves it by knowing where the ice cream scoop sat in the container of water. Standing close by, I watched as she pulled the ice cream scoop from it's watery holder and slid back the glass door above the vats of ice cream. Chocolate, vanilla, mint, strawberry and a few other flavors crowded the oblong freezer chest.
Carrie, with scoop in hand, buried it into the chocolate ice cream and pulled out a scoop which she emptied into the bowl she held. One more scoop pried from the vat and emptied into her bowl and then she placed the ice cream scoop in her mouth. I stood there watching her do this. It was done so quickly and without guile, I had no time to stop her. She grinned up at me as if to acknowledge the tastiness of the ice cream being licked from the communal scoop.
"NO! Carrie, you can't lick the spoon! Other people will be using it and they might get your cold!" I said as I relieved her of that scoop and began to wonder at how many other 5yr olds had licked that ice cream scoop.
Carrie looked at me as if she didn't understand my concern. I reminded myself that she is only five. Five year old children lick the spoon. It's part of the fun of baking or scooping ice cream. It's also the reason children must be accompanied by an adult when visiting the buffet. Rules are made for a reason.