The Snack is Open

Aside from the classic catch phrases “no” and “I don’t want to,” there are few words I hear from the Twins more often than “snack.”

It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or even if they’ve just finished a meal–if they’re awake, it’s snack time. In fact, it is not uncommon for either of them to scowl for 20 minutes at the meal we’ve prepared them–adamantly refusing to take even one bite–and to then make a beeline for the pantry door as soon as we let them down from their high chairs.

They each have their preferred methods for snack requests. My son, for example, likes to hang a single hand from the doorknob like a shaven ape and ask with a sort of singsongy Gregorian chant:

“SnaaaaaAAAAAaaaaack. SnaaaAAAaaAAAAaAaAck. Aaah-men.”

My daughter, on the other hand, is much more direct:

“Something else for eat. Open dis door. Snack. Open dis door, Daddy. Pleeeeeease.”

My wife and can expect these performances at any moment, all day, every day.

I’m not sure what it is about the snack that makes it the perpetual Disneyland that it is for them. Perhaps it’s because on some level we give them a choice. (“Sure, you can have those peanuts or those raisins, but no cookies.”) Maybe it’s the idea of not having to sit at a confined table and being able to eat while simultaneously playing Legos, doing puzzles, or body-slamming a sibling. Or maybe it’s just the independence toddlers crave–the ability to recognize and remedy their hunger all by themselves (with just a liiiiittle help from Mommy and Daddy).

Anyway, because it is always snack time in our house, my wife and I make an effort to stock up on healthy snacks. We’re not stinky hippies or anything, but we do try to keep the kids (and ourselves) away from processed foods and unnecessary additives. One particular reason for this is the dietary preferences of a certain little boy in our house. While my daughter typically requests snacks like carrot sticks or string cheese, my son loves his carbs–crackers, pasta, cookies, donuts… It’s like the kid’s constantly trying to carbo-load for a marathon. He’s not at all overweight, but my wife often (half-)jokes that he’d better enjoy exercising when he gets older.

Naturally, my son’s affinity for carbohydrates inspires him to loiter at the pantry when jonesing for a snack, while my daughter tends to camp out at the fridge. Lately, however, we’ve been trying to break my son’s cycle.

In an effort to get more wholesome goodness into him, we’ve been bringing him to the fridge when he asks for a snack and offering him a smorgasbord of fresh choices including apple slices, yogurt, and cucumbers, but unsurprisingly, this typically ends in one of his award-winning flipouts, as he insists he wants a “snack” (pointing at the pantry), and not what’s “in dare” (pointing at the fridge).

“Buddy,” we insist, “Strawberries and cheese and grapes are snacks, too.” This, of course, goes over fantastically well with a headstrong two-and-a-half-year-old, evoking a resurgence of toddler rage.

But finally, this weekend, I got to the bottom of his frustration.

While making dinner, I accidentally left the pantry door open–something I never do because if it were up to the Twins, they’d sit at the threshold all day, ripping packages open and ultimately create their very own breakfast cereal wavepool.

Noticing the open door, my son strutted into the kitchen with a big grin and told me, “Daddy, the snack is open.”

“That’s right, Buddy. The pantry’s open. It has snacks in it.”

He looked at me like I was nuts, and again pointed at the exposed pantry. “No. The snack is open.”

“Right. The pantry is open and it has snacks in it.”

“No, Daddy,” he insisted. “The snack is open.”

Wait a minute…

“Buddy,” I asked, pointing at the pantry, “What’s that room called?”

“Snack. It’s open.”

It was then that I realized why he’d been getting so frustrated when he asked for a snack and I planted him in front of the fridge–he thought the pantry was called “snack.” I have to admit, I can see how he’d made that connection. A good portion of the snacks come from the pantry, and every time he asks for a snack, he runs to the pantry door for his shaven ape Gregorian chant.

“No, Buddy, that’s not a snack. That’s called the pantry. Snacks are all types of foods. Some snacks are in the fridge and some snacks are in the pantry. See?” I proceeded to show him various snacks in each location. “This pear is a snack in the fridge…but this granola bar is a snack in the pantry…”

He mulled this over for a moment and slowly repeated, “Pantry.”

“That’s right. That’s the pantry. And look. Now Daddy is going to close the pantry because Daddy is making dinner and we’re going to eat it in just a minute.”

Having shut the door, I returned to dinner preparations.

Moments later, my son was looking up at me, smiling expectantly:

“Can I have a snack in the pantry? No want snack in the fridge. Want a snack from the pantry.”

“Nice,” chuckled my wife, who had been watching the whole interchange.

“Well,” I thought aloud. “At least now he knows what a pantry is.”

The Snack is Open


You may also enjoy:

Little Genius   Buddy and the Great Glass Water Sprayer   Happy Stars and Arm-Bitches

If not, can I interest you in a snack from the pantry (NOT from the fridge)?


  1. whatimeant2say

    That is hilarious! I love the Gregorian chant :) Reminds me of when my daughter would point at a plane and call it a “bank.” I couldn’t figure it out until we passed by this super huge bank building one night, and I remembered I had once pointed at a plane flying above it, and said, “See the plane flying over the bank?”


  2. Hekate Jahi (@GothMomRantings)

    Our twins have taken to calling all fruit snacks “Dinosaurs! RAWR!” since we started giving them vitamins in the shape of, you guessed it, dinosaurs. Everything is “Dinosaurs! RAWR!” Well, unless they’re in “Zombie” play time. Then everything is “BWAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINZ!”


    • John Pseudonymous

      My kids are into “RAWR,” too. The best part is when one really wants to “RAWR” and the other doesn’t. It goes something like this:


      “No, stop it. Don’t do that.”


      “No, no RAWR. Stop scaring me!”


      “STOP IT!!!”



  3. Simply Knots

    I love this! My tot isn’t so big on the snacks, but I can relate with books! “Mommy, read this one! Please please please!” So I read the 87 page book and my voice goes and hides under the couch and she goes and snatches another one… “Mommy, read this book! I will wait for you done working. Ok? Read this book, ok Mommy?” :) It’s a good thing, I know, but sometimes reading a million books aloud all day long makes me wish she could read just one… once in a while lol.


    • John Pseudonymous

      Oh, they’re crazy with the books, aren’t they? I don’t even need the book itself anymore. I can just recite it word-for-word. You should hear me bust a rhyme to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I got mad skillz.


      • Simply Knots

        Lol! Our daddy of the house has Lovey convinced that people on the phone can read books to her because of that. I try to change the voices up. Arthur’s grandma has a strong southern accent and Never Talk To Strangers was pretty preppy yesterday (oh my goooood!). It’s so fun! If you don’t have it already, I’d recommend Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. It’s our favorite!


      • John Pseudonymous

        Oh, the Twins love it when we do voices, especially when Mommy does them. Daddy sometimes forgets halfway through the book that he was doing a voice and needs to be reminded.

        We don’t have “Guess How Much I Love You”, but I’ve seen it before in bookstores and on the Twins’ friends’ bookshelves. We’ll have to check it out. Thanks!


  4. jadekenya

    Thanks for this post! At least I know I’m not the only one struggling to get healthier snacks into my two and a half year old boy! I guess we just keep trying! Very cute story. They are entertaining, that’s for sure ;)


    • John Pseudonymous

      Yeah, they say that the first few years are crucial in so many aspects of kids’ development. We figure it’s a good move to get them to eat healthy food as often as possible. It’s tough sometimes to get the kids on board with that plan, but we’ve noticed a difference in our son’s energy and mood in particular with certain foods. Too many carbs and he’s grumpy and lethargic, but more fruits and veggies and he has more energy and a better mood.


  5. gothgurl94

    I really love this post. I have a younger sister and when she was about at least 2 or 3 years old she use to call cucumber pickles. When we are at one of our grandparents house for a visit my grandma makes sure that we have salad with our dinner and my sister had ask for pickle but none of us couldn’t figure out what she really wanted since we didn’t have any pickle with our dinner. Well my sister decided to steal a cucumber off my plate and that’s how we knew what she was talking about.


  6. babasspace1

    Can’t wait for Jr. to start speaking in full sentences. He’s a little confused learning English and Cantonese at the same time.


    • John Pseudonymous

      Wow, I can imagine that would be difficult. Some of my wife’s family speak Spanish so we’ve tried to teach them a few Spanish words, but I don’t think it’s sticking. If anything sticks, it’ll be a word they learn on Dora the Explorer.


  7. lexiesnana

    We have twin grandkids and I love how they make up their own way of putting things in conversation. Today they had to get their immunizations and Little Dude bawled he wasn’t going back to the shot store.


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