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?