Try this at home…

If you (like me) have an individual at home who will NOT eat vegetables if he/she knows they’re there, you (like me) need to start disguising all sorts of edibles with as much creativity as you can muster.

My first attempt at making mac and cheese with veggie broth in it was the equivalent of dipping my big toe into a tub that I knew contained hot water, and then sitting a while to wait for the water to cool down a bit.  I made the roux as I always have, with butter and flour, and then I added vegetable broth and cheese and milk.

Cut to today, and the story is totally different.  Today I made the roux with two teaspoons of olive oil, a small amount of all-purpose flour, and then I added the veggie broth (a generous amount, mind you,) and the grated Parmesan cheese.  That was it.  No milk.  No cream.  No butter.

I am happy to report that J loved it, and that it was delicious AND -surprise, surprise!- actually quite creamy…and, no, I didn’t overdo it with the cheese.

Try this at home.  Seriously.  Even if it’s just a test bath for a ramekin of boiled noodles.

It is Day Four of No Ramen Noodles, and J is perfectly happy with that.  He took his yogurt and pear chips for morning snack, and whole-grain crackers and hummus for his afternoon snack.  He had his veggie-cheese mac and cheese and baked shrimp for lunch (dipping the shrimp in the sauce made him happy,) and chicken with rice and some beans (that had potatoes and pumpkin in the sauce) for dinner.

Try this at home.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s like finger paints, but healthy and good for you.  If you don’t like the taste, play with your food until you find something that gives it what you want to find.  If your cheese sauce looks “pale” (I promise it won’t, but you might think it needs a little color) try turmeric or sweet paprika.  If you want to throw some pesto in, go ahead and do it.  I’m only sorry I didn’t lose my fear of putting something different in front of J sooner…

I’m not doing this just for J, either…we are ALL eating this way.  And we are all enjoying it.  It’s just a different gear, that’s all…

And the butter and cream???  They are lovely.  I like them.  I think they are wonderful, but we needed to shift gears and we have, and we like those things (and we WILL have them from time to time,) but we don’t NEED them.

Seriously…play with food.  I promise it will seem scary at first, but that kid who has been refusing to eat anything outside his/her pattern for YEARS will slowly fall in step with whatever tune you’re trying to bang on that drum.  Seriously…

Yes, we have no Ramen noodles…no Ramen noodles since day before yesterday…

Without much ado, or any ruckus, or even the slightest ruffle of discontent, the Ramen noodle disappeared from the pantry and haven’t been requested since.  You’d think, if you didn’t know J a little better, that he was eating them out of habit, or simply because they were there…

Wait!

He WAS eating them out of habit, and because they were there!!!!!!!  I know this because he’s had TWO chances to go grocery shopping, and twice he has turned us down and opted to stay at home chilling out with TGG.  It’s not even that J wasn’t informed that we were going to the store; he knew, and he decided to stay home.  It’s not that he couldn’t have told us if he wanted the Ramen noodle.  J would have made his wants and needs known, especially in this department, if it had meant interpretive dancing of Isadora Duncan levels, or even telepathically.  If J wants something from the store, J will make sure you KNOW he wants that from the store.  As of now, Sunday afternoon, the basket where the Ramen noodles used to sit, is empty, and there is no urgency on J’s (or anyone else’s) part to fill it.

Yesterday morning, Dada made him toast, eggs and ham.  This morning he had pancakes.  On Friday morning he left for school having consumed an egg white sandwich with turkey sausage.  So far, he hasn’t lost a limb, use of any other body part, or his ability to function in every other way.  So, no, the Ramen noodles that he used to treat like a dietary “need” were merely a crutch, and he doesn’t want them anymore.

I almost cried at the store yesterday.  I don’t deny this because there are moments when it seems like I’m taking this very calmly, but the whole change J has experienced is HUGE!  J, formerly known as Ramen Noodle Boy, is happily eating whatever he is offered, even at breakfast time which used to be the time when the Ramen noodles were a MUST.  Like the boxing gloves that he decided he no longer needed, and left sitting on his bed for decorative purposes, the Ramen noodles are…pfffffft!

I didn’t just almost cry because of THAT.  I almost cried because I realize that I am greatly to blame for J’s bad eating habits, and I regret not having felt empowered to change them sooner.  I was too scared to make him angry, to feed his anxiety, to face his irascibility.  I, hand in hand with the Risperdal, made my son unhealthily heavy, and this is something that I have to come to terms with so that I can proactively continue to pursue fixing it.  I feel horribly guilty about this, but I’ve opted to set the guilt aside and go with the part where I’m determined to correct my past mistakes without denying I made them.

And that’s where we’re at on this sunny, not-as-cold-as-we-have-been Sunday afternoon: we are Ramen-noodleless, and we are moving on to the next thing we want to achieve: legumes.  Making pasta sauce with pumpkin in it has proven to be delicious and popular, and we’re ready to move on…and move on we will…

Lentils, watch out because here we come!

The day the nutritionist almost cried…

I’m sorry I didn’t write yesterday, but I was basking in the glow of J going to school…and staying there until the prescribed release time.  I know, I know…that’s selfish of me.  How dare I?  One would think I’d miss my kid…  I did.  I missed him.  The house was so quiet that I suddenly was able to gauge how bad my tinnitus really is…it’s bad…it’s like blaring trumpets bad, so there you have it…even is spite of THAT, I was basking in the glow.

I read a whole novel in one morning.  I did this while sitting in bed.  I ate yogurt while sitting in bed and reading said novel.  I went to the bathroom uninterrupted, and when I stepped out of the shower, J wasn’t there to greet me.  The cats wandered around aimlessly until they decided “hey!  He’s at school!  We can actually SIT on his beanbag and SNOOZE!!!!!!!”  In spite of all this “joy,” we were all -human AND cats- pretty sick of each other by one o’clock and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the one person we’ve all been claiming to need a break from.

When J arrived from school he was received with a 21-gun salute that he promptly dismissed as unnecessary frippery.  He was excited about successfully completed a school day without weather interfering, and he just wanted to get home and have his equivalent of a cocktail and appetizers.  The cats and I, in our ridiculous desire to see him, were considered nuisances until he felt ready to “receive” us.  He then held court for a while, supervised chores for a while, and graced us with his enthusiastic presence at dinner time.

This morning (because the calendar has been THAT confusing lately,) he thought it was Saturday and promptly jumped out of bed at 5:20, marching down to the kitchen and asking for his movies.  Dada quickly disabused him of this notion, and the next thing I heard was the joyous clomping up the stairs of my child, giggling as if he’d been given the most awesome present ever.

I went to pick him up at one o’clock and we walked from school to the PRT station.  J had never been on the PRT, and he enjoyed our ride from town to the Health Sciences Center immensely.  The only glitch in our trip was his unwillingness to walk into the building until I assured him, beyond any shadow of doubt, that we were NOT going to the dentist’s office.  He walked as close to the opposing wall as he humanly could.

And then we saw the nutritionist.  I, as usual, had notes about our progress. I explained all we’ve done since November, and all we are planning to do in the months ahead.  I explained about the pumpkin in pasta sauce, the veggie broth in the mac and cheese, the raw broccoli, the yogurt and pear chips, and so forth.

Have you ever seen a social worker who hates his/her job and, after talking to you, feels like they picked the right career?  Have you ever met a teacher who felt deflated and defeated by the system, and seemed to get a boost out of talking to you?  Have you ever been to a store where they tell you “no one shops local anymore” as you put ten things on the counter and say “I’ll take these?”  You know that breath of rejuvenation that comes into certain professionals (granted, in all the fields where vocation is required, but seldom appreciated) after they meet someone who is there to see them because they ARE committed and they’ve come prepared???  This lady, bless her, had that today.  J kept pushing the HAPPY button in his iPad, and I had to reassure him that she was just quiet, and covering her face with her hands because she was in complete and utter disbelief of how well it was all going with us.

And then J’s pants almost fell off because he DOES need new ones, and she gasped, but not in horror as I feared, but rather with the joy of knowing that J is no longer (miracle of miracles!!!) a size 44.  J is dwindling.  Little by little…centimeter by centimeter…

Today we walked and walked.  And then we walked some more.  And not a hint of complaint.  And when I offered to buy him lunch, J asked to have FOOD at HOME.  I was impressed.  I was surprised.  I was overjoyed.

So…I go to bed with a happy heart, and an eased mind.  The nutritionist said that his labs are gorgeous.  She also said that we should really concern ourselves with continuing these changes and tracking his pants size rather than his weight; she wants to talk to us again in six months to see how we’re doing.  She wants to know how I fare with all the recipes I’ve found while researching at the library, while playing around with Jessica Seinfeld’s book (which, honestly, has some tremendously awesome ideas in it,) and all my adventures trying to sneak unexpected ingredients into our meals.

I feel good.  I feel like this is becoming easier.  Maybe I’m going to crazy, but this is going to work out just fine because we’re changing habits and perspective, not just DIETING.

Yeah…I’m beat, but it was a good day…

 

Hate to break it to us, kid…

A glimmer of hope, a small spark really, was fanned into a vigorous flame when we got the call yesterday evening that the early-release was canceled because the schools would be operating on a 2-hour delay.  The phone rang and the canned female voice that announces our calls (so I don’t have to run to check the Caller ID screen) said “CALL…FROM…SCHOOLS!”  When you have an individual who is DESPERATE to go to school (because the past 25 days have been either weekends, holidays or snow days with only ONE school day inserted for teasing,) and said individual possesses the super-power of hypersensitive hearing, THIS will get their attention.  (Memo to me…change Caller ID announcement to “CALL…FROM…KIERKEGAARD!”)

The rest of the evening (which wasn’t an easy evening, by the by, as there were payroll issues that Dada had to return to the office for) was peppered with SCHOOL?  SCHOOL?  SCHOOL?  When Dada walked in from work (at around seven-thirty,) I handed him a glass of wine and informed him that the word of the evening was…and didn’t get to finish because J raced upstairs and asked, quite eagerly, SCHOOL?

You can imagine how the rest of the evening went.  Between bites of dinner…SCHOOL?…while helping with dishes…SCHOOL?…while folding laundry…SCHOOL?…while being read a story…SCHOOL?  Once in a while J embroidered a SCHOOL BUS?  LUNCH BOX?  BACKPACK?  TEACHER? in there, but mostly it was SCHOOL?  The Proloquo2Go got a workout.  We used it to explain that today would be VERY COLD, and that there was a 2-HOUR DELAY; we’d be walking to wait for the BUS at 8:15 instead of 6:15, and it would be FREEZING!  And then, finally, J’s energy petered out at 10:30 and out went the lights…

At 10:46 Dada was starting to snore, TGG had said goodnight and was in his room, and I was trying to finish a book that has been tripping me up (because I don’t like any of the characters in it, and good riddance to it,) and the phone rang.

Now, you KNOW Dada was sitting bolt-upright in bed so quickly the first ring hadn’t yet finished, and I admit I said a rather uncouth expletive when I heard “CALL…FROM…SCH…”  The phone ringing after a certain time has a note of some degree of doom.  I never expect a “hey!  How ARE you???  I called to give you happy news!” after 10:00 P.M.  This is a message from the _________  School District.  CRAP!  Tomorrow, Wednesday, January the 8th, all schools will be CLO… I hung up.  When I was younger, I thought hearing “it’s over.  I don’t love you anymore” was heartbreaking; I’ve since revised this notion, and find that “it’s over” is waaaay down on the list behind the announcement of major illnesses, death, and snow days (not necessarily in that order.)  Why listen to the rest of this pre-recorded clanging of doom when it was obvious I’d have to get a lot of sleep to deal with the repercussions of “um…J????  Hi, sweetie…good morning!!!  Guess what!!!!!!!!  There’s NO SCHOOL today after all!!!!”

I slept fitfully.  In my mind (which is addled by the cold, the extended “vacation” imposed on us by the weather, and so forth) I calculated that this is the 24th day J’s been home since December 13th.  Weekends, holidays, and snow days included, he’s only been to school ONCE.  Mother Nature has a sense of humor…mine isn’t exactly GONE, but it’s taken a beating.  It’s not dwindling, but it’s definitely dented.  J is being very patient with me, and I’m being very patient with him, but you can imagine that our relationship has become a routine; unless school goes back to its normal groove, our relationship will lose all its aura of mystery and will be doomed to over-familiarity in short order.

I feel bad for J.  I know he likes going to school, leaving the house.  He hasn’t had a chance to throw his little morning tantrum for days now…this has to be wearing him down.  Either that or it’s building up to a big tantrum when his world falls back where it’s supposed to be.  We have done tons of things to be entertained and focused, but I don’t know if this works for or against his mood at school.  If I make it too much fun here, will he be upset over there because it’s so different?  If I make it dull here, will he get there in a bad mood and react accordingly?  It’s a slippery slope, and I don’t quite know how to climb it without making a lot of mistakes…

So…here we are…once more…at home…the great outdoors look stark and cold, with barely any snow on the ground.  What little snow there is looks unfriendly, unwelcoming.  If the forecast isn’t lying (and it has been for the past few days,) we should see significantly warmer temperatures starting this weekend, and not a moment too soon.  I know it’s too soon to yearn for spring, but I’m certain that all those who’ve had to deal with this ridiculously cold polar vortex are yearning for it with a lot more energy than other years.

In the meantime, we are warm, and we are here.  And J is holding up OK for someone who’s been cooped up with his mom for days and days and seemingly interminable days.  We have things to do (changing the Caller ID announcement IS on the list,) blankets and central heating, chores to complete, projects to start…  We skipped the lentils last night because of Dada’s delay at work, and I won’t try them tonight because I think one shock to the system a day is more than enough.  I’ll save that for when he’s been at school and he is worn down from the effort of that.  🙂  Now all we need is the chance to go out into the world of other things and other people, shake the dust off our social skills, and stretch our personalities…

Tomorrow is another day…whether it is, actually and irrevocably, a school day remains to be seen…or heard.  I hope Kierkegaards’ next batch of news is better…

Secret Agent Veg…in stealth mode…

Maybe it’s the cold (brutally cold) temperatures, and the fact that we’re stuck at home while Dada and TGG brave the outside world for us, but J and I have actually managed to get quite a few things done.  We’ve put together more book cubes, folded laundry, run a few more loads of laundry, made pear chips, washed dishes, dried dishes, put away dishes, dirtied more dishes…

Of course, I’m being followed around (and waited for) when I move from one room to the next.  J has waited for me to come out of the shower, while I wash one cup and he is already heading downstairs to watch TV, while I dash upstairs to see through the window if there is a poor dog loose or if someone is holding its leash (because my neighbor couldn’t see from where she was standing.) and so forth.  This has made the stealthy addition of healthy ingredients to food a little less easy, but I’ve managed.

Behold, please, the marvel of home-made mac and cheese with low-sodium vegetable broth…  Ok, I don’t have a picture, but that’s only because J started eating before I could turn the camera on, otherwise you’d see how pretty and inviting it looked.  Apparently it was tasty because J scraped what was left of the sauce from the plate when all the pasta was gone.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, J had low-sodium vegetable broth-based home-made mac and fat-free sharp cheddar cheese…with a splash of 2% milk, by the way…not even two tablespoons, and -in hindsight, it was unnecessary to add it.  In spite of the low-sodium qualities, no salt had to be added, and J found it yummy and satisfying.  I am impressed with myself…though there’s really no reason to be, but I believe in positive reinforcement for things like that.

Tonight we are going to attempt lentils.  This is tricky because my last experience with lentils was in 1971 and I was not particularly happy about them.  This is also tricky because I’ve never made lentils before.  I have been reading cookbooks since yesterday…I’ve scouted the internet for recipes and tips with more dedication than I used for Christmas shopping.  Stealth is mot of the essence, but the human mind is predisposed to dislike something if they know an element in it might be something it is not inclined to for starters.  I know J will gladly eat spinach, and I don’t have to dissimulate its presence, but pumpkins (and all their relatives) are considered “Halloween stuff” in his mind and, thus, their presence is not revealed until it has been proven that he’s eaten with gusto.  Once he gets used to the idea that he likes pumpkin, then he can know that it’s going into something I’m cooking.  Until then, incognito pumpkins it is.

It’s going well, though.  J didn’t much feel like soup last night, but he didn’t ask to replace it with anything.  He didn’t try to finagle anything extra for the snack box this morning either so the strategy of feeding him smaller portions of healthier, more filling items is actually working.  J isn’t eating to fill any void other than hunger now…it’s not entertainment, and it’s not to pass the time.  When he is bored, he finds something else to do because he feels…nourished???

In hindsight, this kid was the king of empty calories.  What he is eating now is technically “less,” but it is also “more.”  I feel like my level of parental stupidity is slowly reaching a manageable level.  I feel a lot better about myself, and J is looking slimmer…little by little.  What’s more: he is happy.  He isn’t feeling deprived, and he isn’t missing the things he used to gorge on…yet…this might still happen…I’m being realistic.

The best thing, believe it or not, is that J lurks now…in the kitchen, in the pantry, while we’re cooking, while we’re tasting.  He laughs joyously while we run, and he is now doing leg lifts with no problem.  Before it was almost like a tortoise on its back…he couldn’t quite figure out how to lift the leg without trying to lift the rest of the body and he didn’t know to keep the legs straight.  His breathing (deep and otherwise) has improved significantly, and we’re seeing him at the dinner table every single night…

It’s good to see him.  It’s good to see that he wants to be there, not just that he comes because he hears the J!!!!  FOOD!!!!!  It’s good that he’ll try a bit of whatever we serve, and that he actually stops to think if he likes it or not.  It’s all just good.

As of this moment there will be school tomorrow.  I hope there is, but not because J has been desperate to go back or difficult to handle, just because it means that we’ll get respite from this cold, cold, cold weather.  Nothing screams for springtime as loudly as your face pressed against the cold sliding glass door.  The boards on the decks were popping (it was THAT cold,) and the cats have been hibernating, and J has been wanting to cuddle…and in the midst of all this, Secret Agent Veg makes the rounds and sneaks into meals, and snacks, and we take tiny steps forward, and sideways, and leaps and twirls every single day…

I can’t complain…and I’m not going to, but right now I’m going to talk to a bag of lentils to explain to them why they have to be modest and discrete.  I hope they understand it’s nothing personal because legumes tend to be mercurial when they want to.  But, still, we HAVE to try, right?

 

With hesitation, we put BUS and BACKPACK on the board…

Weather.  Weather is coming our way, and it has teeth and snarls.  It is not so much snow that is causing us great concern, but cold…bitter, bone-chilling, skin-freezing, heart-stopping cold.  That it follows a day when it was 50 degrees and no one was wearing a jacket makes it even stranger.

Our trek to the store today was intended to prepare us for possible power outages.  The rest of the town was there for the same purpose.  Not a person left without packages of batteries in hand.  J bought batteries, flannel sheets that were on sale (because J can never have enough flannel sheets in winter,) and two movies: The Wizard of Oz and Mirror, Mirror.  Lily Collins, I’m sure, had a lot to do with his selection of Mirror, Mirror, but The Wizard of Oz was a bit of a surprise.  J has never actually SEEN the movie, but he did see TGG playing The Cowardly Lion his Junior year in high school.  The show was amazing.  The kids did a wonderful job, and J really, really, REALLY loved the whole thing…until he ran into his costumed brother in the hallway and, rather than hearing the Lion speaking, that sweet, familiar voice said “hey, J!  Did you like the show???”  J backed away so fast we had to block his path to a window…we were sure he, like the Lion, was about to jump an escape out of there.  So when we got home and I unpacked the movie for him, I showed him that the Lion was on one of the discs, and I said “do you remember when your brother dressed like this???”  His eyes opened a little wider than usual, and that was enough for me…the memory is still there, but I’m sure he no longer expects his beloved TGG to turn up covered in carpeting and wearing a tail.

Not much else to report other than J did not request Pringles or Ramen noodles at the store.  He is running very low on Ramen, by the way…I think by mid-week we’ll be looking at sounding the trumpet to announce the end of his stores.  I’m not proud of this fact, but J’s breakfast of champions is a package of Ramen noodles…drained of all broth…consumed dispassionately, and quickly forgotten.  We’ve inserted eggs, sandwiches, toast, cereal and so forth into the morning routine, but J has insisted (all along and without fail) on his Ramen noodles.  What will happen when the last package is gone is anyone’s guess…

Maybe it’s time for the Ramen noodles to go the way of the boxing gloves.  Maybe he’s tired of them, but is too proud to admit this even to himself.  Maybe he will put up a token fight about not having any left.  Maybe he will remember at the last minute and demand that we run to the store to get more.  It could be that this is one carefully crafted crisis, or it could be that, as he has done in the past, J is about to surprise us.

That is my thought on this Sunday night when the weather is about to kick our asses, and we’re running low on an important staple: J is probably about to surprise us.

Why not?  This is the kid who now chooses yogurt over popcorn.  This is the kid who had steamed broccoli with a pat of butter as a side for his dinner of home-made gnocchi with pesto (and a minimal amount of Parmesan.)  Why not surprise us?  Why not throw in there one more thing that we can rejoice about???  I believe it’s possible, and I believe that the “surprise” will feel very natural if it does happen…

Just like the mad dash to the store to buy Ramen noodle while J screams and stomps will feel very natural, too…but I’m gunning for the alternative.  If anything has been proven over the past month it is that J is a lot more willing to accept change than we ever gave him credit for, and that we have to stop getting in our own way when it comes to these things.  And there will be days when he’s good ol’ J the Cranky, and we have to get out of our way for those things, too.

I think I can get used to this…

 

Negotiations and couscous…

We waited until the mercury hit 20 degrees before leaving this house this morning.  Of course, we were bundled up as if heading out on a polar expedition.  J asked to go to the library (have to make sure all those book and movie spines are lined up with the utmost precision,) and to the department store and grocery store.  I was sure this was his opportunity to finagle some pepperoni pizza chips (his weakness,) or some other snack that would make shake in my boots.  What happened, in fact, was quite the opposite.  J walked past these things and didn’t ask for anything other than a copy of Footloose (the original, thank you) that was on sale for $4.

Our outing preempted his yogurt/fruit chip snack, so I prepared him a hearty lunch: penne with a “creamy” cheese and spinach sauce (basically three tablespoons of Parmesan, a healthy handful of fresh spinach, and low-fat milk) and six pieces of baked popcorn shrimp.  I was worried that he might not want this, but he ate it quite happily, and then went back to the basement to hang out in his TV room.  Yes, this is the kid who used to demand macaroni and cheese made with that neon-colored powder that, I’m pretty sure, glows in the dark…

Later in the afternoon, I called him upstairs to help with a few chores and he obliged.  His treat?  Three lemon-filled cookies of the kind I’d rather not let him have, but I am willing to concede this point because he’s having THREE cookies not TEN up to THREE TIMES A DAY like he used to demand from us.  Two hours before dinner he was given his yogurt and pear chips, and he was virtually beside himself with joy.

We did some yoga this evening.  We did leg lifts.  We ran while listening to Kelly Clarkson and Kirsty Maccoll.  He found this both energizing and fun.  As I was about to prepare dinner, J asked for pepperoni.  Dada’s face drained of color, and I could tell his spirits were sinking fast.  I shook my head at my husband and said, softly, “pick your battles and follow my lead.”  I asked J to take out the pepperoni and counted out a serving.  I asked him and Dada to find a box of couscous and some organic vegetable broth in the pantry.  While they looked for this, I took out some fresh broccoli and chopped it.  J looked at me and the ingredients I was putting together, and then he went downstairs to play with TGG while I threw dinner together.  I made a quick calculation of calories, and J was way under what would be best for him in caloric intake for the day.  I asked Dada to prepare a snack for later: some “happy cow” cheese (one wedge,) 8 whole wheat crackers, one Baby Bel (low-fat) and a spoonful of Spinach Dip.  In the meantime, I prepared J’s couscous (1 serving) using the veggie broth, throwing the broccoli and the (cooked, patted dry and squeezed of all oily goo) chopped pepperoni.  The lovely, luscious looking serving of couscous was sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan, and I called J for dinner.

We (meaning all the people who are unaccustomed to J being simpatico to this type of food) held our breath as he walked up to his plate.  J just smiled, sat down and tucked in with a great deal of enthusiasm.  He didn’t even think twice.  He didn’t move the food around with his fingers to find the pepperoni bits, or try to fish anything out.  Just like that, J ate a healthy-ish meal that -two months ago- would have caused a minor nuclear meltdown.  With the first bite, J smiled broadly, a clear indication that he actually LIKED the combination of flavors I set out for him.  The only objectionable thing in the whole meal was the pepperoni, and I’m willing to live with that because even with that thrown into the mix, J ate broccoli, and vegetable broth, and couscous.  A sighting of the yeti, fairies dancing on the lawn or Elvis himself wouldn’t be as surprising as the sight of J eating something GREEN that wasn’t candy with artificial coloring…

I go to the store still observing J out of the corner of my eye, and ready to accept that he will want to buy the unhealthy snacks he loves, but also ready to negotiate smaller amounts to purchase and offer better, healthier choices.  I feel bolder and more motivated now that he’s willing to try different things, and I am working on creating healthier versions of items he likes but have either too much salt, fat or additives.  We are unstoppable with the dehydrator, and now we’re about to boldly go where we haven’t wanted to go before…smoothies!  Of course, you have to understand that this is being approached with equal parts excitement and trepidation, and in very small amounts.  Just like J tasted pumpkin soup by the spoonful, he is going to be offered a smoothie in equally modest amounts.

A dream of mine involves a fantastically luscious garden full of home-grown veggies that J will eat.  Another one includes the disappearance of Coca-Cola (and any other carbonated drink) from his mind.  I am willing, however, to accept that the first of these things might happen much sooner than the second one.  I confess I no longer drink soda (I don’t even like it,) but at J’s age I was a repeat offender in that department.  How I managed to stay stick-thin until I had children is beyond me…I had the eating habits of Bluto Blutarsky, and I’m not proud of it.  Now I eat as much healthy stuff as I can manage (and that’s quite a bit, people,) and I have the body of…ok, NOT Bluto Blutarsky, but not my old body either.  (Mother Nature, thank you, I guess, for middle-age spread…I could’ve done without it, but there you have it…at least I’m alive.)

That’s the story, my friends…  Tomorrow we’ll attempt yet another unexpected item, and -if our luck holds- we’ll succeed.  And now…it’s time for his cheese, crackers and spinach dip.  And caloric quota for the day…FILLED!