And then there was broccoli…

Last night, on a whim, we offered J a taste of broccoli.  Mind you, this wasn’t broccoli swimming in cheese sauce or dipped in ranch.  This was the broccoli that Dada was rinsing and pulling apart for me to throw into a chicken dish I was about to cook.  I handed a small “tree” to J, and he grabbed it…popped it in his mouth…chewed the whole thing…swallowed…and asked for more. I hate to admit that we did our best Jane Goodall on this: no interference, simple observation.  OK, I lie…we actually took out a tub of hummus and dipped a small tree in it.  J took it, tasted it, found it sufficiently pleasant to consume, but not to repeat.  The conclusion we reached?  J likes his broccoli raw and naked, and -if cooked- preferably al dente.  J ate, with gusto, a dinner of chicken breasts cooked in orange juice and with broccoli, and sweet potato fries on the side.  If you think this is a sign of the Apocalypse, gird your loins: today he had about 2 ounces of pumpkin soup.

To say that it was cold today would be an understatement.  The call for a two-hour delay came last night, and it was unnecessary…we KNEW we were having a snow day, but the superintendent, bless his soul, likes to wake us up at 5 a.m. with the tidings of joy.  J took it philosophically.  We’d been whispering in his ear that today might/might not be a school day, and the first thing we showed him as he appeared, bleary eyed, in the kitchen was the snow piled up outside.  After asking for his movies, J grabbed his snack box and set to work.

By the time he was done persuading me to go from one chore to the next, it was yogurt time.  This coincided with “pear chip storing time.”  I have never seen anyone so enthused about pear chips in my entire life.  J was singing, clapping, and taking deep breaths to inhale the aroma of his beloved pear chips.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Ferdinand the Bull of pear chips…he likes to stand there just quietly…smelling the pear chips.  No sooner had we prepared several 2-ounce containers than J leapt towards the cupboard to find a bowl to grab the last two ounces for his yogurt snack.  He was HUMMING on his way to the TV room to have his snack…

HUMMING!

That at lunchtime I offered him a spoonful of MY pumpkin soup and he ATE IT was just icing on the cake.  Consider this, please: J was basically a wheat and cheese monster not that long ago, and not for lack of trying on our part.  Timid trying, granted, but trying…we probably hold the record for the fastest-spat-out-any-vegetable-or-fruit you can name, and now…

J had crackers and hummus for a snack this evening.  He will happily survive on one serving of healthy popcorn each day.  He chomps on spinach when you offer it to him.  He ate three small, discreet slices of home-made pizza for dinner, and he will gladly accept that he gets only THREE COOKIES…that’s it…no more hand-flapping to ask for more…no more whining to finagle extras…

We’re looking for the seed pod.  It can’t be too far from here.  I’ve yet to find the debris of the mother ship in the woods behind the house, but I know it’s there…it HAS to be!

I know this is J.  I am sure of it.  I also know that J is slowly getting leaner, and enjoying different things to eat.  I am comforted by all this.  Tonight he helped make the home-made pizza, and he had fun layering cheese and pepperoni on it, but he didn’t fall face-first into it as he would have before.  One could ask why, and I get the feeling the answer is because he’s now busier and doesn’t think of food as entertainment, and he is getting a wider variety of flavors and textures and this makes him less reliant on cheese and carbs.

The snow day, of course, posed a bit of a problem for me after three solid weeks of J being at home.  What more could we possibly do that we hadn’t already done?  For starters, J wanted to do chores.  We did laundry (when do we not?,) cleaned the kitchen, swept and vacuumed, dusted…and then…then I casually mentioned that I wanted to move all our bookcases (22 feet wide, laden with nearly 900 books) a foot to the left…

As Dada and TGG walked into the house shortly before 5 P.M., J was placing the last batch of books in the last cube of the last bookcase…  He helped empty each bookcase, shift them, dusted the books and the cubes, replaced the books until it was all done.  A project I had envisioned for later this month is done…in one afternoon.  I should’ve known!  This is the guy who, when we go to the library on Saturdays, goes around making sure all the books are properly lined up on the shelves.  It’s like he’s visiting old friends and making sure they’re properly arranged.  He’s a bookcase chiropractor, a frustrated librarian…and today he got a huge kick out of this whole impromptu project.

We braved the cold to walk to the mail room, and J was cautious all the way.  He still cannot feel comfortable walking on ice or snow, but he was happy all the way there and back.  As soon as we got back (and thawed out, and peeled the three layers of clothes we each were wearing,) he dashed downstairs to keep working on the bookcase project.  The day went by in a rush, and yet not rushed.  It was very sweet, and very productive.

In light of this, I might have to find another major project for Tuesday when, with a high temperature forecast in the single digits, J might be home again for the day.  I’m thinking re-organizing the pantry and the garage.  Or maybe I can teach him block-stamping that day?  Something to keep him occupied…and happy…and open to broccoli, kale, pumpkin and dried apricots…

We’re on a “one vegetable a day” pattern…and I hope we stay that way.

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