Nick was so finicky that his family called him “Picky Nicky.” He was picky about his clothes. He was picky about his toys. And he was especially picky about his food.
One day Mom made Nick’s favorite dish—macaroni and cheese. She served it to him in his favorite bowl, gave him his favorite spoon to eat it with, and expected him to say, “Yum! Yum! My favorite!” But all Picky Nicky said was, “It isn’t cheesy enough.”
Mom took a deep breath—what she usually did when she was upset. “Picky Nicky, I have had enough! You don’t like gelatin because it keeps falling off your spoon. You won’t eat tomatoes because they have seeds. Now you’re even complaining about macaroni and cheese! I give up! You’re too picky! Starting tomorrow, you do the cooking! See if you can make something that’s just right!”
When Nick went downstairs the next morning, Mom, Dad, and Tyler were already at the kitchen table.
“We’re waiting for breakfast, Picky Nicky. We would like some pancakes, please,” Mom said.
“I don’t know how to make pancakes. How about cereal?”
“I don’t want cereal today,” Mom said.
“Me either,” Dad said.
“I want pancakes,” Tyler said.
“Get the pancake mix out of the pantry and read the directions on the box,” Mom said. “I’ll help you if you don’t understand them.”
Nick was upset. Why couldn’t they just eat cereal? But everyone was staring at him, so he got out the pancake mix.
Mom helped him figure out what to do, but it still wasn’t easy. As he put the pancake mix into a big bowl, he spilled some onto the counter. And when he cracked two eggs into the mix, pieces of shell fell into the bowl too. It took a while to fish them out—yuck! Finally he added the milk and stirred everything together. He scooped up some batter with a measuring cup and poured it on the hot, oiled griddle Mom had gotten ready for him.
“Remember, Picky Nicky” Dad said, “I like thin, little pancakes—lots of them.”
“And I like fat, round pancakes,” Tyler said.
“I want big, brown, crispy ones,” Mom said.
After a few minutes, Nick looked at the pancakes on the griddle. None of them was thin and little, or fat and round, or brown and crispy. One pancake was flat but big. Another was round but lumpy. And the biggest one was brown, all right, but it looked soggy in the center. He put the pancakes on three plates. He gave one to Dad, another to Mom, and the last to Tyler. Then he got out the syrup and butter and put them on the table.
“This isn’t thin and little,” Dad said. “It’s flat and big and not even round. And there’s only one!”
“My pancake looks lumpy, Picky Nicky,” Tyler said.
“And mine looks soggy in the center,” Mom said. “Maybe you’d better make some more for us.”
“Maybe they’ll be OK once you put on the butter and syrup.”
“We’ll try them, but …” Mom said.
“I like melted butter,” she said, “and my pancake isn’t hot enough to melt it.”
“I like hot syrup,” said Dad.
“I like blueberry syrup,” said Tyler, “and this is maple.”
Nick was getting upset. They were just being picky. Oh!
“I’ll melt the butter,” he said to Mom. “And you’ll have hot syrup in just a minute, Dad.” “Here’s your blueberry syrup, Tyler. Do you want it heated?”
While the rest of the family ate their pancakes, Nick ate his favorite cereal in his favorite bowl with his favorite spoon. No one said anything more.
After breakfast Nick helped Mom clean up the kitchen. As he was putting the last plate into the dishwasher, Mom was wiping off the table.
“Mom,” he said softly, “will you make the sandwiches for lunch? Any kind will be OK.”
Mom didn’t take a deep breath this time. She just smiled. “OK, Nick,” she said.