Wednesday, January 13, 2010

strange and unstrange

Tonight we had one of the most pleasant meals in the last two years. Both children sat at the table. No one cried. Both kids ate all their food and got a treat of chocolate ice cream. There was no food on the floor, well, not counting some stuff that landed there yesterday.

It's not that Martin never eats a full meal. If we serve spaghetti with peas and applesauce, we've got a good shot at a clean plate. He also eats sandwiches and other pastas and pizza. But tonight was a stretch: omelettes. My husband cooked a cheese omelette and I cut it in half, one slice for each kid. I expected Sasha to eat hers. She's like a 20-pound garbage disposal. I had no aspirations that Martin would eat his, unless bribed to take one bite in order to get a helping of applesauce.

When Martin arrived at the table, he looked at me and asked, "Is this a pancake?" Immanuel Kant be damned, I answered, "Yes, it's a type of pancake. It's an omelette-pancake." Martin started to eat. And even though omelettes don't taste like pancakes, he kept going after the first bite. He ate the whole thing. Then he gobbled down some carrots and some applesauce. I was completely amazed. I wondered if this is how parents of typical kids feel all the time.

I knew we couldn't get through the whole evening without a little bit of funkiness. Just before bed, Martin happened upon some stamps that had arrived in the mail (from one of those insidious companies that sends you stuff you don't even know you might want). The stamps were from Liberia, a set commemorating the U.S. presidents. Martin was elated. Indeed, he was sure he could not go to bed without the stamps. In fact, I think I hear him monkeying around upstairs, probably pining for the stamps.

As he glanced at the set of stamps, he looked up at me in wonder and said, "Look, it's John Adams." Strange. But tonight he was also a little boy who tried some new food and ate it all. Unstrange.


  1. I wish you many more family meals at this level. Actually, I wish it for ALL parents.

  2. I have two "typical" kids, and the only time we can get both of them to clean their plates is when we order pizza. And even then we have to order two different types....

  3. Hi Jen, I visit your site whenever I remember, and as usual you had me laughing and crying tonight, so thanks! I wanted to add, for what it's worth, that having both kids eat their entire dinner with no bribes or threats would be a remarkable event at my house too! - Michelle Solensky