Tuesday 7 February 2012


I don’t know how many mornings of late I have woken up and one of my first thoughts was, ‘how am I going to get vegetables into the King today.’ Yes, I am a college graduate from an excellent university (modesty is for the youth). I have written scripts in the double digits and used to read the New Yorker cover to cover and now all I can muster are obsessive thoughts about vegetable consumption. Toddlers: they drive you to it.

Of late, the King has decided that no vegetable is his friend despite the fact that he used to have a fondness for anything in the food kingdom. Okay, he still likes avocado but that’s a fruit, no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s not. He currently walks into the kitchen, grabs hold of the counter top underneath his snack cupboard (the contents of which are not that exciting – raisins, rice cakes, a bunch of puffed things - but what does he know) and makes this pleading wail that sounds like, ‘Ammmmaaa, Ammmmma’ over and over at the top of his lungs until you feel like your head is going to explode. We aren’t sure if this word of his means ‘more,’ ‘mine’ or ‘come on people, would you just give me what I want already.’ Then again, it could be Polish (what his father speaks to him) and it could be a foreshadowing of what's to come as far as me understanding my son.

Of course when it comes to mealtimes and getting vegetables down him, I’ve tried everything; little choo-choo games, songs about cute little broccoli that look like trees (I hate myself when I resort to this) begging, pleading, and then of course, ambivalence (fine, eat it, don’t, it makes no difference to me, I’ll just be over here pretending I could care less). Ambivalence makes me think I’m winning, but the King knows better. He is so onto me when I’m in ambivalent mode that he actually laughs at me. Of course during this entire struggle, I am laughing at the irony that when I was young I used to tuck my green beans in my big cheeks, eat the rest of the meal (including dessert of course), and then go and spit them out afterwards. 

Of late, I’ve become the master of hiding vegetables in his food. I figure, I’m his Mother, until he’s of an age where he can find me out, it is my duty to be surreptitious. So, if a vegetable can be purified within an inch of its life and then stuffed inside something else, god darn it, I’m going to try it. Sweet potato mashed and hidden under his yogurt - Yup, and he ate it. Broccoli pureed and mixed into his falafel (yes the King is down with his Lebanese roots) – you got it. And yes, he ate it. Smeared vegetable mash underneath the peanut butter on his cracker? But of course. And he ate it. Can you smell the victory coming off me? [And stop making faces, kids could care less about food combining, just today the King was dipping falafel into his banana yogurt).

Of course each time I’m able to get one over on him, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Purely because for a moment, I can tell myself that I am not raising a child that is living on meat and cheese alone (and of course raisins. He is my son after all). Of course whilst I’m doing a victory dance on the inside, I act super nonchalant in front of the King, as if I could care less if he finishes what’s on his plate. Cause, I have a sneaking suspicion (or feeling of dread) that the King is always one step ahead of me. Come to think of it, I'm going to go and check his cheeks for vegetables.
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