Edwin loves juice. If we let him, he could probably drink at least a liter of juice a day. But I'm a mean mother and more importantly, a cheap mother, so he drinks milk instead for all of his meals. Although here in Baku, the juice is cheaper than the milk. But if you consider that Edwin would drink at least four glasses of juice versus one glass of milk, I still come out ahead.
The one exception to this rule is Sunday. In my house growing up, Sunday was always soda and Kool-Aid day and that tradition has passed on to my own family.
Due to Edwin's juice-love, however, we've had to add a new rule - after a cup of juice you have to drink a cup of water before you can have another cup of juice. If we didn't have this rule, all Edwin would do all dinner long is drink juice. And trying to make a liter of juice last for five people makes for not that much juice for each person. That's the problem with selling juice in one-liter boxes - one liter is not quite enough, but I don't want to open a whole new box. So instead we drink water in between each cup.
Kathleen and Sophia have grown resigned about this rule, and have been kicking against the pricks long enough to realize that when Mom and Dad say something, they mean it. So they drink their juice, drink a cup of water, and then get more juice. Simple. Easy. Logical. Consistent. Nobody complains, nobody throws a fit, and everyone gets as much juice as they are willing to drink water for. I love having logical children.
Edwin, of course, is another story. If illogical was embodied in one little, squirmy, ticklish body, it would be in a two year-old boy. And despite my husband's hope, little boys are just as emotional as little girls with one exception. When little girls get upset and emotional, they can be calmed down with cuddles and hugs. When little boys get upset, they are only enraged further by cuddles and hugs. Hurt finger? Get angry. Mom trying to kiss it? Get angrier. And throw or smash things.
So the juice deal hasn't worked out very well for Edwin.
A usual Sunday dinner goes something like this:
Brandon: "Sophia, please say the blessing."
Sophia [while burying her head in her arms]: "Mfffhhhrmmgsr. Frdjdsjnnnn. Ffffhhfhhmmmafmf. Amen."
Chaos ensues while two parents are trying to get food onto three plates, cool the food off, calm children down who have eaten food that was too hot, pour juice, clean up the spilled juice, fetch forks that didn't get put on the table, lecture children that they are going to eat the food and we don't care if you don't like it, and vainly attempt to have a conversation.
About three minutes after Sophia's prayer, Edwin puts his cup down, smacks his lips, and announces cheerfully, "Juice. More juice!"
Brandon: "You need to drink water before you have more juice."
This Sunday the screaming started before the prayer was even mumbled. Edwin had had a bad day that involved a lot of wandering around the house screaming, sometimes with underwear on, sometimes without. So when we reminded everyone about the juice rule (remember everyone, you have to drink water after you finish your juice), Edwin grabbed his little orange Ikea cup to his chest and immediately started protest.
"No water!! Emman no drink water!! NOOO WATER! NO! NO!!!!!!!" followed by hysterical crying and head shaking.
"No, no Edwin," I tried to assure him, "juice first. Then water. Juice first."
Eventually he believed me and reluctantly placed his cup back on the table to receive its coveted portion of quince juice.
Right on time three minutes after the prayer, Edwin announced that he needed more juice. Brandon dutifully told him that if he had some water he was welcome to have more juice. Edwin shook his head no. We left him alone.
He started breaking a piece of bread into tiny pieces and placing them on his chair. Next he at some watermelon. Then he picked some grated cheese off the top of his black beans and rice. After that he hopped off his chair with his cup and walked to the water distiller.
The water here reputedly has heavy metals in it, so the embassy has provided with a water distiller for our drinking and cooking use. It sits next to the refrigerator on its own wheeled cart with a spigot coming out right at child-height. I have taught the children how to get their own drinks (yum! room temperature water!) from the distiller so that they don't have to constantly ask me for them. So far Edwin hasn't tried to figure out exactly how much water the distiller holds. We'll have to see what happens when Joseph starts walking.
So when Edwin got to the distiller, I watched him lean over and fill his cup with enough water to barely cover the bottom. He marched back to the table, placed the cup on its top, and climbed up his chair. After settling himself in place, he looked me in the eye, and lifted his cup to his lips. With one gulp he downed his water, slammed his cup back on the table, and smacked his lips triumphantly.
"Emman drank water all gone. More juice!!"