Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
- TITLE: The Pea-Sized Problem
By Belinda Peoples
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Tightly pursed lips belonged to the face with the blue eyes. Usually admired for their plump rosy appearance, now they were barely visible, such was the effort involved in keeping peas at bay. The lips owned by the grey eyes were much thinner than they had been in their youth. However, they were still a valuable asset, for they belonged to a mouth whose corners were most often seen to be curled upwards in a warm and friendly smile. Even now, in spite of the challenge at hand, the lips formed a smile which extended all the way to the narrowed grey eyes as their owner acknowledged the humorous nature of her current plight.
The ultimate battle of the wills was well underway.
Grandson versus Grandmother. Toddler versus Octogenarian.
Grandson was sceptical, to say the least, about what could be gained by eating a spoonful of peas. Surely Grammy knew there were far more interesting things to do with peas. Grandson had already led the pea to triumph through tests of capacity up his nose and durability in being bounced to the dog. The curiosity of other feats yet to be discovered was too enticing. No, Grandson would not let these peas meet an undignified and boring end inside his mouth. His lips would have to stay tightly shut and his eyes would have to stay firmly fixed on the wall until he heard the chink of Grandmother placing the spoon back down on his dinner plate.
Grandmother allowed herself an inaudible sigh. She didn’t come down in the last shower of rain, Sonny Jim. This wasn’t her first rodeo, Cowboy. How many spoonfuls of peas would there have been over the years? Hmmm, four children of her own, who now had 12 children between them. Perhaps not really an impressive brood; some of her friends had great-grandchildren already. But then, only commencing parenthood unexpectedly at the age of 38, she considered each of her children a miracle. For a long time she thought she might not have any. Grandmother knew children and grandchildren were all a wonderful blessing. She also knew a lot about toddlers and their spoonfuls of peas.
The peas remained, quivering slightly on the spoon, in mid-air. They didn’t inch closer to Grandson. Nor did they swoop erratically around the kitchen as unwitting passengers on spoon-shaped trains or aeroplanes. The chink of spoon hitting plate Grandson was listening so intently for still was not heard.
It is well-known that no match can be found equal to a battle of the wills between the very young and the very old. Grandson and Grandmother looked set to enter the annals of the legendary. Grandson merely exerted typical toddler determination. That is, beyond all reasoning and logic, oblivious to all notion of sense or consequence, Grandson was prepared to go to exceptional lengths not to eat his peas if he didn’t feel like it.
Grandmother, in all her eighty-something years, had paid close attention and had learned life’s lessons well. She knew all the nutritional facts of the pea. She understood the theories behind teaching children healthy eating habits. She had also learned the uselessness of this knowledge when facing a battle of the wills with a toddler. Of one thing Grandmother knew she could be sure, beyond reason, beyond theories, beyond determination. Out of the greatest love comes the greatest resolution.
Grandmother’s thin lips curled upwards even more than before. Her grey eyes twinkled with the knowledge of the words her lips would form next.
‘Grandson’ she said gently. ‘Eat this last spoonful of peas and then we can both have some ice-cream.’
Grandson’s eyes flickered ever so slightly towards the spoonful of peas. It didn’t move, it was still his choice to make. No longer narrowed, his big blue eyes turned and looked directly at Grandmother, whose warm smile betrayed no hint of trickery, only love.
Grandson opened his rosy lips and engulfed the spoonful of peas within.
‘I-ceem’ his lips said in his garbled toddler way, losing a pea or two to the floor. His eyes remained glued to Grandmother’s, betraying no hint of cheekiness, or of having won a battle, just of his love for Grandmother…and ice-cream.
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