Friday’s school lunch was cheese pizza. As I cut each child’s pizza in half I said, “You may eat this with your fingers.” One-by-one they looked at me hesitantly as they picked the pizza up and took their first bite — all of them except Kevin.
When I told Kevin he could pick his pizza up in his hands, he jammed his fingers into his arm pits and glanced around frantically for Ms. Alyce. Upon spotting her, her watched her very carefully. She was giving children extra napkins and telling them they could pick their pizza up with their fingers. Kevin brought his hands back down to the table, but he didn’t grab his pizza. He picked up his fork and continued to watch Ms. Alyce. Finally she sat down at the table in front of her own plate and she picked up her pizza in her bare hands.
Kevin’s eyes grew huge. He put his fork down and slowly, carefully picked up his pizza. He took a bite, never once looking away from Ms. Alyce. She looked up. Their eyes met. Kevin froze like a deer in headlights, his little teeth sink deep in the pizza. Ms. Alyce grabbed a napkin and shoved it toward him. “Be careful,” she scolded. “It’s hot.” Then she turned back to her own meal. Kevin devoured his lunch then licked his fingers.