I was trundling the double stroller into the garage after the 4-year-old had clambered out "all by herself" and the 18-monther had permitted me to unfasten his safety belt and deposit him teetering on the tarmac.
Two-and-a-half pretzels had wound up in various parts of the vehicle.
I ate them.
A day in the life of the gourmet grandpa.
So is it true that a grandfather of four eats his own weight in what the toddlers don't?
The jury is still out. But a fellow has to do what he can.
The 4-year-old asks for a slice of Muenster after applying plenty of parmesan to the pasta. The pasta disappears but the Muenster is left. One of my favorites.
The 3-year-old nods enthusiastically for grandma's scrambled eggs. Something distracts the enthusiast after she's put away half. They're great on a little piece of lost toast.
The 18-monther comes as close to asking for a raisin as he can, and I give it to him. He holds it carefully between thumb and finger, squeezing gently, before giving it back. Raisins are wrinkled anyway.
Is it all some delayed reaction to the 1920s when small Americans were urged to clean their plates because of all the children in China?
I don't think so.
Who needs psychoanalysis to notice the perfectly good half-eaten ear of corn, already buttered and salted, on the 4-year-old's abandoned plate? It's a greasy job, but somebody has to do it.
Having squeezed the orange juice with a tiny helping hand pressing down on mine, am I supposed to just throw half a sippy cupful down the drain? I ordinarily remove the sippy top.
Is yogurt any worse for being the remnant pushed away decisively by the yearling in the high chair? Have you tried the strawberry for children?
I draw the line at some things. Sodden Rice Krispies. Prepared baby food of any kind though the turkey-and-barley flavor does sound promising.
Once when everyone else was in putting-to-bed mode, I disdained a trove of linguini and soda crackers under the dinner table. It was hard enough to crawl under there and gather them up for the compost.
But the last inch of a Popsicle I can handle. Pizza crusts are OK, especially when attached to at least a shred of cheese. I can take a well-toothed apple fragment though it's not exactly a taste of Eden.
I was surprised when the 4-year-old noticed that the 18-monther pushed a pretzel directly from his mouth toward mine.
"You don't have to eat it," said big sister, "when it's all slobbery."
She certainly wouldn't.
I know that grandpas, by definition, don't have to do anything. I didn't know I had a rep.
But the next day I was finishing my dinner with grandchildren when I heard their mother call from the vicinity of two small half-empty bowls: "Dad, would you like some more soup?"