Picture, if you will, a small bag of chips. The kind you get with a Subway sandwich when you upgrade to a meal deal. Got the picture? I'm pretty sure I can snarf down that bad boy in about 2 minutes. Tops. And that's a conservative estimate. Yet it takes me son roughly 25 minutes to eat the contents of the snack bag.
This afternoon he came home from a full day of tennis camp and swimming and inquired about the small bag of Doritos he saw in the pantry. I usually don't have that type of deliciousness on the shelves of my pantry (for the aforementioned reason in paragraph one). I told him he was welcome to it, as long as he sat down and told me about his day. As I listened to his camp stories, I became fixated on his approach to eating a a bag of tortilla chips.
First of all, only one chip leaves the bag at a time. Never, not once, did I see more than one chip in his hand. Each chip is nibbled at least 4 times, sometimes 5 or 6, before it completely disappears in his mouth. And, each bite requires at least 10 chews before the chip is actually swallowed. While the chip is slowly pecked at, he twists and turns it as if he is in search of the perfect bite; as if, somehow he is solving a puzzle. He keeps his eyes focused on the Dorito while his fingers and lips gradually turn a bright, neon shade of orange.
He never speaks with his mouth full (note to self: keep up the good work in the manners department), so when I asked him a question, if his mouth was "full" (and by full I mean with an 1/8th of a piece of a Dorito chip) he'd hold up his orange-stained pointer indicating that I needed to wait before he could elaborate. I'm telling you, I was tempted to rip the bag out of his hand and shove a handful in my mouth.
Enter my daughter. Who has an entirely different approach to snacking. She also had a full day: field hockey camp in the morning followed by an afternoon of swimming. As she breezed into the kitchen where her brother was torturing me with his monotonous, deliberate approach to eating Doritos, she informed me that she was starving. She had a scoop of peanut butter for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch and now, at 5:00 pm she was standing in front of the refrigerator in search of the perfect snack. She had a few teeth pulled yesterday to make room for braces and her mouth had been throbbing for most of the day. She needed something soft, yet satisfying, so she settled on a cup of strawberry banana yogurt.
She used to have good table manners (note to self: revisit the concept of social behavior with my daughter), but they seem to have fallen by the wayside as of late. She managed to inhale the entire cup of yogurt in 3 ginormous bites. Quite the contrast to her brother. Not only did I see it, I heard it. She blamed the grotesque noises on the expander in her mouth and the gaping bloody holes that once housed teeth. Regardless, nobody should have to hear yogurt being ingested, thank you very much.
Thus my snacking goal for my kids this summer: normal bites in a timely fashion. A lofty goal, indeed. But if they can achieve it by August, they'll be all that and a bag of chips...