My oldest needed an explanation, and I told her that the rule was less a rule and more a joke for people to feel OK about eating food off the floor.
My daughter filled her fork up with rice and broccoli, then made the slow and arduous journey to her mouth. About half way, it all fell off the fork and into her lap.
"Oh, man," she said, looking down.
Eating is an adventure when you're 3 years old. She's too big for a high chair, but needs to sit on her knees to keep her head fully above the dining room table. And she doesn't want a booster seat. She'll boost herself, thank you very much. My wife casually suggested she lean over, so if the food fell, it would land back on her plate. She considered this a good suggestion that she had no intention to follow.
It could be a child being stubborn, or there could be a training wheels aspect to it. Eventually, if you want to learn to ride a bike, you need to take off the training wheels.
Often in these moments, we talk about a great benefit of having a dog is that it will clean up those accidents for you. The cats are no help in this department. Now, if you need someone to sleep all day in the closet or casually knock things off the table, they are there to help. But they aren't cleaning up messes.
A few days later, while watching a movie, she was distracted, and the carrot meant for her mouth hit her cheek and fell to the floor.
"How did that happen?" she asked with a giggle.
I showed her the stain on my shirt from earlier in the day when I took a drink of coffee but forgot to actually drink and poured it down the front of my shirt.
"It happens to the best of us," I said.
She liked our shared embarrassment, and noted maybe I should wear a bib when I drink coffee. I agreed. Then she looked down at the carrot.
"Eat it!" my 5-year-old chimed in. "Five-second rule!"
I shook my head. My 3-year-old looked to her older sister for wisdom, inquiring about this rule.
"How it works is, you have to count to five, then you can pick it up and eat it," she explained.
My little one nodded. And she carefully counted to five and picked up the freshly fuzzed carrot.
"First, that's not how the five-second rule works," I said. "Second, throw that carrot out."
My oldest needed an explanation, and I told her the rule was less a rule and more a joke for people to feel OK about eating food off the floor.
"Why would anyone do that?" she asked.
"Because potato chips are delicious," I replied.
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