Popcorn communion

Anya asked for popcorn last night. It’s one of the few foods she’ll ask for by name: pop-pop. The rest she requests through a series of points and grunts, as I’m told her father did at her age. (Except for chocolate milk; chocolate milk is “pleeeeeeeeeease?”) So I made her some.

She’s extremely interested in cooking lately, so I allowed her to stand on a stepstool next to me and watch. It’s part of the process. She’s 2; we do not vary processes, ever. (I’m a bit OCD, so I’m cool with that. Routines comfort me, too.)

While the popcorn cooked, we did our usual song and dance. No, really. We stand there going “pop-pop-pop-pop” and making popping motions with our fingers, plus the occasional snap (from me) and tongue click (from her). Like we’re trying to conjure popcorn. Oh, and butt wiggles, for sizzling oil. It’s a lot of fun.

When it was ready, I put the popcorn in the usual bowl (stainless steel with a rubber coating outside to make it easier to grip) and set it on the floor in the living room. She sat down before it, like kneeling before an altar, and patted the carpet next to her. I wanted to sit in the recliner and elevate my sprained ankle, but I sat next to her for a moment. She immediately tried to feed me some popcorn.

“No, baby, Mama’s too full,” I told her. Dinner was a calzone roughly the size of my head. I’m still full.

She looked puzzled. We always feed each other popcorn. It’s part of the ritual. She tried a few more times, hoping I’d change my mind. I fed her some instead.

I went to take a shower. When I returned, she resumed trying to feed me popcorn. Again, I politely declined. Again, the confused face. Finally she gave up and settled in with the bowl and The Last Unicorn. After drinking a cup of tea, I went to bed.

This morning I noticed that, while she and Daddy made a dent in the popcorn, there was more left than usual. And I realized that she hadn’t asked for popcorn just because she wanted some, but because she wanted to share it with me. It’s one of those things we do together, like clean the house and go shopping on Saturday. It’s a bonding experience.

I understand communion a little better now. Motherhood, too.

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