First, it's a sound, coming to my ears as I drink my coffee in the relatively quiet dining room.
"Nnng? Nnng?" (His tendency to make this particular sound through his nose--often--has led us to seriously curb his binky usage.)
"What do you need, Buddy?" I ask.
"Nnng nnng nnng nnng!!" he replies.
"Are you hungry?"
"Nnng!" (That's affirmative.)
I get up, and realize he's holding his bib out to me, the plastic bib that I never washed after dinner last night. Oh, well. I put the bib on him, and strap him in his booster chair, where he can wait while I prepare something. Hey...there's still some granola on the tray from yesterday's snack! Cool.
Here ya go, kid. He digs in to the leftover granola, while I scoop fruit, yogurt, more granola, and some cinnamon into a big bowl. After mixing it and scooping some out for the big sister, I sit down.
I offer him a bite of yogurt/fruit/granola mixture. He reaches out his hand. "No," I say with a smile, pulling the spoon away so he can't grab it. "Aaah." I'm lucky, and he copies my, "Aaah," and I pop a bite into his open mouth.
I start on my own granola, and am quickly greeted with a whine. "Mmmore?" I prompt him. "Mmmore?" He grins and proudly says, "Mma! Mma! Mma!" I reward his "talking" with another bite.
We continue this way for awhile, until he decides he really wants the spoon. As I move it toward his mouth, his chubby little hand, quick as lightning, reaches up and grabs it. His mouth, messy with white yogurt and blueberry juice, breaks into a wide smile.
Okay, okay, you can have the spoon. I let him hold it, and he manages to get some of the food into his mouth. He's obviously very proud. I praise him, then try to use my spoon to feed him another bite. He's having nothing of it. He's reaching toward the bowl.
I give up, and plop some of the chunky, messy mixture onto his tray. He tries to get a bite on his spoon and quickly gives up, digging in with his fingers, picking out the blueberries and raisins and leaving most of the calcium and whole grain behind.
I sigh and figure at least it's a good opportunity to finish my own breakfast. A couple of minutes later as I eat my last bite, I glance over and realize he's no longer eating, but using the yogurt as finger paints on his tray. His two-toothed grin is wide as he catches my eye, and his hands eagerly continue to make finger-paths in the white goo.
And here's the most difficult part of breakfast. He's getting more and more messy, with little bits of food being flung on the floor. I want the tray gone, but I don't want his messy hands to then grab the chair and his clothes and, oh, please...not his hair. I make a quick decision and grab the tray, putting it on the table as I rush into the kitchen for a washrag. By the time I get back a couple of seconds later, he's grabbed the booster seat with yogurt-covered hands, and his shorts have telltale white smears on them, but I breathe a sigh of relief when I realize there is no granola in his hair--not this time, anyway.
He's trying to climb out of his seat, so after I give him a once-over with the washrag, I unstrap him and let him loose in the living room. I put the tray, bowl, and spoons into the sink and wipe the messy seat, but I know if I'm to really clean up, I should get the food off the floor too.
So I open the back door, and our four-legged Schnauzer-brand vacuum cleaner enters to take care of the rest.