Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vegetative state

Because I try not to make a habit of carefully inspecting the chompers of gift horses, I cannot explain to you why it is that Carter, one month shy of his fifth birthday, suddenly loves carrots.

Three weeks ago? A few tender baby carrots, surreptitiously nudged next to a stack of dinosaur bites, would have elicited howls of protest. Today, I've had to stop him from inhaling a family-size bag of the stuff, lest his skin take on an orange cast.

I can't account for the change, but I can and will confide that the discovery of this small but significant breakthrough has had me pirouetting 'round the kitchen with relief and joy.

Because it means, and I say this with all love and respect for my better half, that at least one kiddo of our three may have dodged their father's screwy eating gene.

I'm terribly sorry that I'm not at liberty to go into detail about this quirky gene, which mystifies me no less today than when I learned about it two decades ago, because it is, for Some People, a Sensitive Topic. And Some People, I have discovered, don't relish sharing All Personal Aspects of Their Lives with Complete and Total Strangers.

Personally, I can't begin to understand this odd philosophy, but I do try to respect it. Usually. Unless it's irresistibly blogworthy.

I will tell you that it's quite a sight to see a handsome, strapping six-foot-four-sized man shrink in fear at the notion of eating a lettuce leaf. Or a banana.

So: Carter chomping carrots was a very good thing indeed. So good, in fact, that I happily looked the other way as he methodically dunked each carrot into a little cup of ranch dressing, nullifying at least some of that fabulous nutritional goodness.

THE BOY IS EATING VEGETABLES, I rationalized. Ranch dressing, chocolate fondue fountain, a vat of melted butter served with a giant paintbrush: accompaniments can be phased out later, I figured.

It was a pleasant scene. Until Katie walked into the kitchen.

"Orange juice," she said, tossing her empty sippy cup in my general direction. Just as I began to launch into my kabillionth lecture of the morning about manners and magic words, Carter bounded toward his sister with a smile and a handful of bunny snacks.

"Katie, would you like a carrot?" he asked. "No," Katie said, with a bit of a snip to her voice. "I don't like carrots. Orange. Juice."

"You should really give it a try," Carter persisted. "Taste it with ranch sauce. It's so good!"

Katie softened her tone, but shook her head again. "Ranch sauce is spicy. I don't like ranch sauce."

Carter was only slightly deflated. "No, it's not spicy. Look at me! Mmmmm. It's yummy."

I admired Carter's attitude, but knew from first-hand experience that no way, no how, was Katie backing down from her stance. Sure enough, she held out her hands in the universal gesture of "back off, wise guy" and reiterated her opinion. Ranch? Spicy. Bad.

Satisfied with a fresh supply of o.j., she began to make her way out of the kitchen, but my born-again veggie fiend wasn't giving up that easily. He followed her, wielding a carrot and now openly begging her to try it. Please! Just a taste! You'll see! It's not spicy!

Katie broke into a run. Carter dashed after her. Somehow I became the center axis of the fray, so now they were whirling around me, with Katie screeching, "SPICY! NO!" and Carter yelling, "COME HERE! COME HERE AND EAT THE CARROT! STOP TEASING ME!"

And I thought: gosh, maybe that quirky gene isn't such a bad deal after all.

Eventually, an impasse was declared. Katie went skulking off to a corner to read a book and channel her inner moody thirteen-year-old.

Plucky Carter was down, but not out. So I wasn't especially surprised to hear him peddling his wares in the den.

"Hey, Spencer, do you want to try a carrot with ranch sauce? It's not spicy at all."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he hasn't already seen it, you should treat Carter to a viewing of Wallace and Grommet's "The Curse of the Were Rabbit", delightful British claymation for the carrot lover in all of us.

Congrats to you as well! Milestones, milestones...

P.S. Now I know that to hear Katie speak, I should offer her Ranch dresssing. I'd be content with one good strong NO!

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Minivan mom said...

I'm loving you posting every day.

This cracks me up. Trey does a disservice to parents everywhere as living proof that you CAN grow up big and strong and not eat your vegetables. :)

10:28 AM  

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