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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tiptoe through the tulips

One of our ongoing campaigns, is to continue to try and expand junior’s diet. Currently, he eats 17 foods. [translation = jolly annoying but more commonly referred to as neophobic] Ideally I would wish for our family to enjoy a meal together in the evening, but that dream may be a while away yet.

For the time being I am more than satisfied with a lesser deal. The lesser deal these days is for everyone to be at the table together, for a period of time. The time period is vague. [translation = more than a minute fits the bill] When I say ‘at’ the table, this is because I don’t expect anyone to really sit, in the conventional meaning of the term. [translation = hunkered down, kneeling, draped, or in close proximity to a chair, are all good enough]

At first, this might see quite a low bar. ‘But Madeline, surely if you have such feeble expectations of your children, they have nothing to rise towards?’ And indeed, as always, I would applaud that viewpoint. The trouble with that viewpoint, is that it is blind to a few little matters that are of great import.

For instance, if you have a limited diet and are required to be at the table with other people, then you have to see and smell their very offensive food. Sometimes you may also have to hear it too. Whilst I do not know what smells you dislike, I could hazard a guess that you would have a hard time eating your dinner in a male public restroom. Likewise, even if you are not a vegetarian, a slaughterhouse wouldn’t be my first choice of venue, to eat my tuna sandwich. We are all familiar with tales of foreign travel and exotic foods. [translation = chocolate covered cockroaches anyone?]

Hence, for my son to be at the table, whilst other people eat other things, this translates into a momentous achievement. [translation = thus we unite to chant ‘remember, everybody likes different things,’ but next time I’ll pick a better tune, or maybe better words, or basically something less irritating during the following months of repetition]

This means, that even a simple lunch time sandwich may cause great difficulties for the person who finds that peanut butter is ‘poison.’ Strangely, my other son finds the smell, taste and sight of bananas very offensive too. This is a great nuisance, since bananas are one of his little brothers 17 foods.

The trouble with only eating 17 foods, is that each of those 17 items appears more frequently in a daily diet. If for example, you as an adult person, enjoyed caviar or oysters or smoked salmon, even if you could afford to eat such things, you probably wouldn’t eat them every day, or even every other day. None of them would be around to torture the other people in your household very often. Even if you threw caution to the wind and stuffed yourself on smoked salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and squeezed in a morning and afternoon salmon snack too, at the end of the day, the packet would be empty. [translation = but your tummy would be full to capacity]

As an aside, maybe you could find 17 foods that you could exist on for the next year? Just you, no need to concern yourself with other people’s foibles. Imagine you’re on a desert island. [translation = with fresh daily shipments by helicopter] Each item must be a single item. [translation = no casseroles] Don’t cheat and combine one thing with another. [translation = spaghetti but no sauce, chicken but no breadcrumbs, or breadcrumbs and chicken separately, they’d be two items] Be careful of pies as the crust and the contents will be at least two items. Even a nice safe soup is likely be a cheat, and I know that you’ll put your croutons on the side, for later or dessert. Two of your 17 items must be beverages. E.g. milk and water. That gives you 15 things to choose. Now come along now, you’re an adult, so don’t forget to ensure that you have a well balanced nutritional diet. Let me know how you get on. 365 days and counting!

But as usual, I digress. Meanwhile………..

As always, my timing is flawless. [translation = 5:30 p.m.] The children are absorbed in the ‘electronics’ reward time, as I nip back in from the garden with the world’s most perfect tomato in my hot little hands for my lunch. [translation = home grown and still warm from the sunshine.] The air conditioning in the single family room, ensures that their air flow is pure. [translation = no chance of him detecting that a tomato has entered the house] My handy dandy egg slicer, means that my sandwich is ready in a trice. I skip to the dining room to eat my lunch. [translation = summer holidays may result in malnutrition for some.] I sit at the table, as a proper grown up should and admire the bouquet of flowers. [translation = not from an admirer but from a guilt ridden dentist]

After one mouthful, I realize that I’ve forgotten the chives. I dither. Eat now, whilst the going is good and skip the addition of perfection, or add the perfection and risk skipping the eating? I slip from my chair and move silently back into the kitchen. [translation = the stealth of the truly motivated] I return to the table with a handful of chives and a pair of scissors, but as I open the blades I hear a howl from the family room, following by speedy steps that stop at my side. He tiptoes in place with his fingers neatly pinching his nostrils closed, eyes shut, “dat is dah terrible, dat is dah awful, dat is dah stinkiest ever, ever, ever!” His eyes blink open and then snap shut again before he whizzes away to bellow over his shoulder, “But das o.k. coz everybody is liking dah different things!”

Well something is getting through!

Not ‘one sandwich’ but several items = tomato, mayonnaise, slice of bread, one egg, ignore salt and pepper, all equates to four food items. Just as well I skipped the chives.

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