Where is my broccoli?

I don’t think I could be blessed with better neighbors. On one side lives Gabe’s best friend and her family. We love them all. They are our playmates when it snows and our jumping buddies on the trampoline. Jilli’s mom, as Gabe calls her, is the most likely person to visit me in my home/office on any given day.

On our other side lives a couple whose children are grown. They have two tiny dogs that have to be the cutest breed in the world.  They let Gabe play with their dogs, and they speak to him kindly and often. These neighbors recently made a very reasonable request of me, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to manage it.

Gabe throws things over our fence. Toys, food, clothing…it doesn’t matter what it is, he’ll throw it. When my neighbor showed up at my door with an empty candy wrapper and (very nicely) asked me to ask Gabe not to throw candy over the fence, I knew it had not been his. I also knew, however, that the other things she listed did come from our house. And among them? Broccoli, a potato, numerous elephant toys. Now the candy, which would be the thing that could harm her dogs, was not Gabe’s. But I’m sure that finding large vegetables in the yard isn’t much more fun than worrying that your dog has eaten chocolate. So I agree quickly to speak to Gabe, knowing fully well that it will likely do no good. What am I to do?

I sit Gabe down and have him look at my eyes. He knows already that I’m going to say something important, because I never push the eye contact otherwise. I remind him that throwing things over the fence is not allowed, and I explain that his doggie friends could choke or get sick if they eat food he tosses over.

“No throwing stuff over the fence,” I tell him, “and no taking my vegetables outside.”

He agrees and even seems to understand. I show him some broccoli, which he calls trees, and tell him that it’s ours, and I want to keep it in the kitchen. He grins at me and nods. I have no idea what that means, but I’m doubtful that it’s agreement. I tell Noah to let me know if he sees Gabe taking food outside or throwing anything over the fence. And I’m out of ideas.

Already my eyes are glued to Gabe most of the time when he’s home, and now I have a new thing to consider, a new question to ask myself worriedly when I make a run to the bathroom.

“Where is my broccoli?”

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~ by Rachel McMahon on January 13, 2011.

One Response to “Where is my broccoli?”

  1. Very cute and funny and serious. I am sure the throwing thing will stop but it is nice to know there are still people out there who teach their child.

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