How to Choose the Perfect Banana

I sent out a cry for help on Facebook last night:

Am holed up in the bathroom. Poorly organized but enthusiastic oppositional forces are assembling to attempt a siege. My supplies = a good book, a threadbare towel, limited toilet paper, plentiful water, 16 oz. raw almonds, 2 tootsie pops, and a partially used banana. Could hold out for days, except I forgot my phone cord; am considering making a dash for that, a pillow & several pairs of earplugs while the opposition is distracted by infighting. What would you advise? Over.

And you — bless your hearts (the real kind) — you were there for me in my hour of need. Your advice?

Time to embarrass the children. Streak through the house screaming “I’m Naked” grabbing up any and all needed supplies. Phone cord and debit card being top of the list. <—Evie

Tell them you have a loaded banana and you’re not afraid to use it. <—Musings of a Minister’s Wife

DON’T DO IT! The tribe is stealthy. You won’t make it back! Someone WILL corner you with a sippy cup or pee soaked pants. I’m going off facebook now. God be with us all. <—Ashley

Wine! Over. <—Gracie

But some of you, knowing the Five Kids community is always a safe place to ask vulnerable questions, wanted to know, What is a partially used banana?

Most of the time I like to think I’m in touch with my former selves. You know, the Me who wore clothes without iridescent booger trails, and the Me who made pretty invitations for well-organized parties, and the Me who wondered whether to let my kid wear swim trunks, rain boots and a tiara to the grocery store. Every once in a while, though, I realize how deeply entrenched I am in this current life. Like when someone asks What is a partially used banana? and I’m astonished there’s still a world out there where that’s not a thing.

What is a partially used banana?

This is a parenting blog, and, as you know, I always share helpful information. So I’m going to answer your question in long form in case there are others out there who don’t know.

What is a partially used banana?

A partially used banana is one that’s been sucked on, bitten off, somewhat squashed, sat upon or a little regurgitated — usually all of the above — but never, ever finished. On the worst days, it’s also been verbally maligned, mocked, shunned, rejected, despised and shamelessly discarded for failing to meet unrealistic standards of modern banana beauty. The very people who call for perfect, unblemished bananas perpetuate the system of degradation, keeping bananas down with their not-so-subtle belittling and rough banana handling.

Look. I don’t mean to be too graphic, but awareness is important so I’ll conclude by sharing at the bottom of this message exactly how this happens.



How to Choose the Perfect Banana:
A Practical Guide for Kids

First, it’s important to be totally ageist when it comes to bananas. Are there age spots?


Yes? Sick. REJECT IT.

Next, bananas must have a completely uniform yellow. This banana?


Too green AND there’s a spot. REJECT IT. Also, start crying.

Finally, when you find the perfect specimen,


peel it.ID-10038090

Now it’s open and you can see the stringy bits. In other words, it’s RUINED. REJECT IT. Your parents will try to convince you it’s fine. They’re wrong; it’s not. It’s up to you to prove it; tear it, bite it, lick it, suck on it, squish it, step on it, shove it under the couch. No matter what, do NOT actually eat it.

So. How to Choose a Perfect Banana? THIS IS A TRICK. There is no perfect banana. Your parents just want to ruin your life.

The End


P.S. Here’s a post about what to do with partially used bananas and how my kids actually look at the grocery store. Because I’m lowering the parenting bar, one post at a time.


“Over Ripe Bananas” image credit Grant Cochrane via
“Ripe Banana” and “Banana” image credits nixxphotography via
“Banana” image credit antpkr via

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14 responses to “How to Choose the Perfect Banana”

  1. “and if by chance a banana passes all tests, there is always a little nubby at the bottom that ruins that last bite)”

    don’tcha know… those are banana penis’????

    Only HERE would I dare share THAT tidbit!!!! LOL

  2. Seriously, I laughed so hard I cried. Hysterical! It would be a rare moment when you could walk into my kitchen and not find at least one “partially used banana” on the counter top. Just discovered your blog not long ago and I love your work! 🙂

  3. I told my girls that the brown spots were spots. Mwahahahh! They never minded and even prefer them. The boys however eat up any unarmed bananas that venture unsuspecting into their paths. The girls just don’t get their chocolate spotted bananas any more…
    Our bananas do usually end up partially used.

  4. This remark is tangential at best, but I feel you need to know that writing on a banana with a ballpoint pen (although it needs to be very unripe, or you can imagine what happens) is a very pleasing activity. You can leave messages for people, or instructions, or directions, or indeed just relish and enjoy carrying out this satisfying task for no other reason than pursuit of pleasure.

  5. Ohmygoodness this is perfect. Just yesterday I took a walk through the house after spending five minutes holed up in the bedroom to find FOUR separate banana peels scattered randomly around the house (in the bathroom, the middle of the hallway, the girl’s bedroom carpet, the living room couch…) And today, I am STILL finding bits of the actual bananas (under husband’s side of the bed, in the lego toy box, the dollhouse, under the couch cushions, etc..)

  6. The spotty brown bananas are perfect. The spottier the better. Send them my way, I will turn them into muffins and send them back.

    I so want to wear a tiara to the grocery store. Says something completely different when you are 53 . . .

  7. My toddler loves eating bananas! The only thing he is fussy about is whether or not you let him hold it, and if (G-d forbid) you actually try to break it into pieces (or slice it) for him.

    You see, my 5th (like my 3rd) has quite a throwing arm on him, and we are cleaning banana slime off the floor and wall over 10 feet away if we do _anything_ to upset his personal banana revery.

    And if you leave banana stuck to some surface for too long (which happens when we cannot locate all of the pieces as they go whizzing by), boy oh boy is it _awful_. Just sayin’.

    BTW, you need to repost that grocery store picture every couple of months, or at least reference that post, because it is Da Bomb!

  8. Sounds like you need a banana bunker. Google it… you won’t be disappointed. I bought 3 for the giggles.

  9. This blog is such a breath of (fresh?) air. The mamaraderie is refreshing. Knowing I am not ‘the only one’ helps me stay somewhat sane through this journey called motherhood. Thank you!
    (and if by chance a banana passes all tests, there is always a little nubby at the bottom that ruins that last bite)

  10. Ok, I just have to say how much I love this blog. I’ve been reading it for a few months now, and it always makes me laugh. I have four kids of my own, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one treading water. Thanks for all the laughs!

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