16 August 2011
Blueberries and Floppy Cheese
I recently had a dream. I was carrying a pint of fresh blueberries and accidentally tripped. They spilled to the floor and scattered - and Liam dropped to his knees and scrambled to pick them up and shove them in his mouth one by one. Reaching and shoving as fast as he could.
And I stood there and watched in amazement. It was like observing my own happiness. Who knew that watching my kid eat blueberries would top my Christmas list?
Liam is a "picky eater" - a term we're trying not to use so he doesn't label himself and descend into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The act of eating does not interest him as it takes up precious play time. And it has always been so. As a baby he never nursed longer than 5 minutes; I considered remaining topless all day so I wouldn't miss my window by fumbling with shirts and such. He survived on mere tablespoons of mush a day. I used to sit in front of his highchair and think "Oh please please please one more spoonful. That would make 4. Come on 4!" But there was always something more interesting going on elsewhere.
This year, he ate cheddar bunnies for Christmas dinner.
And since the move, the issue has increased ten fold (along with a fear of cats and dogs. Mostly brought on by an oversized male cat named Cuteness who hisses at children who try to play on his rainbow play system). Since the move, he doesn't even eat the few items that previously made up his small repertoire. Not even ketchup. It's as confusing to him as it is to us. To keep him from perishing in the hallways of his school, I allow him to choose what foods go into his lunch. And the lunchbox still comes home full - sometimes completely untouched. When I ask him why, he gets remorseful and says "I don't know. I just didn't want it."
At this point, we have only one for-sure food item.........and it's a heinous one. He calls it "Floppy Cheese" and he found it at Grandma's house. In grocery store terms, it's Kraft American Singles. I've explained to him that this really isn't cheese - which is why they call it "cheese food." But he doesn't care, he thinks it's the ultimate delicacy. He once unwrapped and ate an entire package - that's 16 slices - not knowing that they weren't intended to be eaten like a bag of chips.
At what point do you give in and give him the only food he'll eat even though it's not real food and it's sure to cause a world of constipation?
At the store recently, I confided in the woman behind the deli counter. "Help me find a food with the taste and consistency of floppy cheese but it's real food." We sampled a variety of actual cheeses, analyzed them for taste, color and texture. We landed on a mild Monterey Jack. Then we sliced it paper thin - I held it up to the light, shook it slightly to see how it "flopped." Cheese slicer woman held it up to the light, too, and weighed in with her opinion.
When Liam came home, I told him I had made an amazing discovery: there were giant blocks of floppy cheese at the deli counter that were the size of car batteries! Where we could order as many slices as we wanted without being limited by the size of the package!
And he was excited! Let's have some! I crossed my fingers and worked hard to hide my anxiety as he took his first oh so discriminating bite............
"Hey! This is the cheese from Jimmy John's!"
He catches me off guard.....don't blow it! "Yes! Yes, it is! This is the cheese from Jimmy John's!"
Oh thank you cheese gods! oh thank you cheese slicer woman for shaking the cheese with me! he will not die of starvation today!