We have solved the genetic code that will one day help us avert dreaded genetic diseases before our children are born.
We can detect and sometimes predict natural and cataclysmic events with precise technological devices.
Still, some questions remain unanswered. One such question has dogged me through 27 years of parenthood: Why won’t anyone drink the last glassful of milk in the jug before opening a new one?
Is this a genetic disorder? It’s possible, because my husband shares this malady with all my children.
However, you would have thought that following certain rules of evolution, this trait would have been watered down and perhaps spread more thinly among our children. But, in fact, each child has that exact propensity and has added to it in their own unique way.
For the youngest child, eating a bowl of cereal that is not a full bowl is poisonous. So, if the box does not contain a full bowl, a new box is opened and, rather than waste time pouring two boxes, he simply pours a full bowl out of the new box. Thus, it could be said that this child is mindful of his time. Old boxes of cereal, however, can simply be left to rot.
He explains by saying that the “schnibbles” are too dusty. If there are any aspiring inventors out there, here is a project for you: How can one pour the last of the cereal without having to eat the dust?
My daughter not only has the milk dregs and dust aversion, she also will stop eating a piece of fruit at the halfway mark. She will then place it in the refrigerator thinking that she will finish it later. “Later” is pretty ambiguous, however, and in our house, “later” never becomes “now.”
The result is a refrigerator full of what looks like shrunken heads and milk jugs that have turned to curds and whey. So, when exactly is later?
The fourteen-year old has developed this disorder into a science. Peanut butter is his medium. At any given time, there are approximately a half dozen jars of peanut butter in the cupboard that have just enough peanut butter in them to make one or two sandwiches.
If there is a new jar, only one side of the jar has been defiled. The virgin side still has the little curl on top that was made when the jar was filled. What, I wonder, is his plan? I asked him this question once. He said his plan was to take over the world. I never asked again.
There does not seem to be any rhyme nor reason to his madness. He only explains that the reason for the mostly-finished jars is because he hates it when his knife gets peanut butter on the handle. Apparently, it is impossible to dig peanut butter out of the depths of a jar without getting your knife slimy. And slimy knives are apparently not acceptable for the future ruler of planet Earth. I introduced him to a spatula five years ago, but the association didn’t stick. Why? I don’t know.
These questions may never be answered.