Proceed with caution, prudence, and a sense of humor…

J has never met a fruit he was willing to try without suspicion, or taste without the certainty that he’d be grossed out.  Fruit roll-ups were his friends when he was little, but then he discovered how nicely they stuck to walls and, after hours of scrubbing and crying, and a significant dwindling of security deposits, I gave up on trying to sneak the fruit in there.  The only leafy green that he tolerates is spinach, but that’s because it gets snuck into Florentine sauce and that’s creamy.  We don’t use salt (except for sea salt, and that sparingly,) and we only use olive oil.  J, however, loves butter and can locate it even under layers and layers of things we pile in the fridge.  Margarine, to him, is something to be treated with derision, disdain and spitting.

How, then, to implement this Mediterranean Diet that has been suggested and that we’re going to discuss with the nutritionist next week?  Well…pedal to the metal.  Balls to the wall.  Diving in headfirst without checking depth.  Until we come to a screeching halt and have to reassess our strategy.

J has discovered that he doesn’t really like banana chips, but is positively over the moon in love with pear and apple chips.  Yesterday he ate every single pear and apple chip I’d made.  Every…single…one.  And then, in the immortal words of that kiddie ditty we all know and love, he was sliding into first and his gut’s about to burst…  It wasn’t a violent digestive reaction, but his body was going na-ah, you’re out of your mind, J!!!!!  I sent TGG a message (since he was working at the Urgent Care where they know J quite well,) and he explained the situation and replied (as older brothers will do) “dude can’t have fruit tomorrow…he’s just not used to it, d-uh.  So-and-so (our favorite NP) says chill on the fruity snacks and bring him in if it doesn’t stop.  :D”  And thus the old adage of everything in excess being bad for you was proven…

To the rescue, then, came Mediterranean Diet for Dummies…in the mailbox, thankfully, earlier than I’d imagined.  Let the flagging of pages and the taking of notes begin!!!!!  You should know by now that I will tackle this with all the annoying enthusiasm of the kid who has ten No. 2 pencils perfectly sharpened and lined up on her desk before a test.  When J and I walk into the nutritionist’s office on Tuesday, I will be ready to ask questions, provide answers and prove that we are committed.  In the meantime…

I’ve been working on changing the way J eats without causing him any panic.  That is: since J likes cheese as a seasoning, I’ve introduced into his lunch other things that he wouldn’t normally request, but that make the presence of cheese less necessary.  I give you, ladies and gentlemen, J’s lunch for today (when he came home early because of a scheduled early-release day):  baked home-made chicken breast chunks breaded with a light coating of Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, sweet paprika and flour, and tossed with penne rigate and pesto, and a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top.  All in all, the cheese amounted to less than 2 ounces, and the pasta was less than half a cup…  J ate this with a great deal of gusto, didn’t ask for more cheese, and happily worked on Christmas ornaments and chores for the next two hours without so much as thinking about a snack.  I am pleasantly surprised…

I am working on introducing things gently (there was something about that gurgling stomach yesterday that freaked me out,) and J is accepting these changes with great aplomb considering the great fracas of POPCORN-DONUT-NO-TRASH-GO-TO-BED the other night.  The kid likes tasty food, but he’s definitely been allowed (I fully admit that we’ve been instrumental in this because, well, routine equals a semblance of peace and quiet, and we got used to routine, peace and quiet, and we screwed up our kid in the process) to develop some rather lazy eating habits.  Now he’s counting between bites (we get to thirty now, but he skips 27 and repeats 29) and eating more slowly; hopefully the next step is savoring more, and craving less…

Dinner tonight will include legumes…and we’re hoping that J will jump on the legume bandwagon because, well, he’s Puerto Rican and we love our legumes.  I’m willing to go through a slowly-consumed, carefully analyzed meal full of close observance of every bite if it’ll evolve into actually liking what’s on his plate.  This is not going to be easy, and he’s not going to love everything we try, but he will benefit from whatever upheaval this brings to our day-to-day existence.  It’s time for a new routine, and new habits…comfort be damned…

Off I go…beans and rice, and herbs and olive oil, and garlic, and exercise are still in the agenda for this evening.  Then the post-its come out, and the note-taking.  And if gurgling ensues, well, we’ll laugh at that as we try to figure out how to handle it in the long term…

 

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