Worth Repeating: On the Care and Feeding of Boys
A few minutes later, I walked into the kitchen. There on the counter was his culinary masterpiece – a freshly nuked corn dog, surrounded by three kids of chips. It was all laid out lovingly on a grease-stained paper towel.
Elliott was quite proud as he explained how he brought fruits and vegetables into his meal. There was corn in the tortillas, he pointed out, and tomatoes in the ketchup. And since corn dogs come from the most important food group, the one called Awesome, that just about covered it.
I stared at the array and marveled at his culinary prowess. I don’t know whether to celebrate his independence or check his cholesterol.
Sometimes I wonder if other mothers allow such meals. Would I be a better mother, I think, if I forced some shade of green onto his plate? Maybe I could grate zucchini on top o the Cheetos, or hide eggplant strips between the hot dog and the crispy corn coating. I bet he wouldn’t notice an embedding of fresh tomato chunks in the ketchup.
There are those days when life feels like enough of a whirlwind without fixating on the one day with the one meal (and its abject lack of nutritional value.) Some days I simply cannot stop long enough to nitpick about having enough purple of green or orange on the plate because I’m busy stopping the wrestling matching in the front room or protecting my china cabinet from an errant soccer ball…
…I want to micromanage with daily charts and lists of what we should be eating, but I’m usually so caught up in making sure they don’t literally gnaw the shelves off my pantry that I’m forced to relax on a few points.
We do the best we can. Some days are better than others, and I operate out of the truth that chewable vitamins were made with little boys in mind, and that I’ll have another chance at perfection the next time this boy eats – about forty-five minutes from now.
by Rachel Balducci