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You Eat What You Are


We don't stock a lot of chips or candy in our pantry, but the one thing I do stock is pretzels. Thing2 is hitting rock bottom of his fussy-eater phase, and one of the few things he likes is pretzels. He eats so many that I've begun to suspect that he's seeking some mystical pretzel secret.

I spent the last month of my first pregnancy with my feet up and my nose buried in parenting books, trying to fight off boredom and preeclampsia. I was sure the extra homework would fully prepare me for impending parenthood. Thing1, however, had the uncanny ability to challenge every bit of wisdom in those glossy baby books.

Take, for example, the fussy eating stage. My favorite tome featured gorgeous photos of rosy-cheeked cherubs eating organic apples as big as their heads. These model children with model palates apparently devoured – without complaint – every brussels sprout and broccoli leaf set before them.

Thing1 like his greens too, but peas and spinach were for wearing, not eating. The most carefully planned kid-friendly meals were met with disdain. Dinner time often devolved into tears and pleading – even Thing1 occasionally got emotional. By the time he was six years old I could count the things he would willingly eat (along with the things I could claim I knew about parenting) on one hand. Knowing you are what you eat, I worried about the impact of his limited palate on his development.

Six years later, my now-giantic Thing1 eats anything from the larder that isn't specifically marked 'Hands OFF,' and we're taking a more relaxed approach to Thing2's fussy phase. When he leaps and twirls around me while I'm making a dinner he'll find boring after two bites, it's clear that his pretzel addiction has, if anything, enhanced his physical flexibility. It makes me wonder if maybe the great pretzel flexibility secret was really something his parents had to discover.