Honest—we did not mean to undermine Rachel’s food choices for Lily! Well, maybe Joe did; when it came to food, he could be a little evil.
Rachel asked if she could reply to my carrot cake muse and of-course I was delighted to say YES.
CARROT CAKE REPLY :
Reading Katybeth’s Odd posting about carrot cake brought back memories. It didn’t actually bring back memories of the carrot cake itself, or that had I even served carrot cake…apparently that cake didn’t make as much an impression on me as it did on Katybeth. It was just…a normal cake I served one year. It was not as if I served zucchini cake…or beet cake! Carrot cake, from my perspective, is loaded with sugar and dairy, but the carrots give it a healthful-seeming touch. And maybe some added fiber. Thank goodness Katybeth didn’t attend the party at which I didn’t even serve cake at all…I served watermelon! (How Joe would have laughed at that Odd maneuver!) I see now that inviting only two kids to that party had been the right choice. I had warned the two moms that there would be no cake—and they were thrilled. Putting a candle in a slice of watermelon was easy as pie.
No…Katybeth’s Odd blog did not bring back memories of cake. It brought back memories of ice cream. Lily had never had ice cream, as a preschooler, and it had not been hard to keep her away from it. I simply didn’t buy it. I had seen kids crying over longed-for ice cream cones. I had seen kids refusing to eat their dinner because they knew that eventually their parent would break down and bring out the dessert…and I did not want to create that kid.
Yes I am familiar with the saying “All things in moderation.” In fact my mother (who is not really sure how to drink wine in moderation) used to say it frequently. I agree in theory. But I am more of an all or nothing person. So I chose the zero-sugar route with my kid, never wanting even a moment of negotiating, aka begging, for sweets.
So we were in the middle of Cole’s fourth birthday; Lily was still three. The kids were happily eating…let’s say they were eating hot dogs. Frankly—pun intended, again, of course—I’m not sure what they were eating but if I had to guess, it was hot dogs, and I was feeling fairly confident that I could accept Lily’s intake of preservatives and salt if I just breathed through the moment, and maybe meditated after the party. I knew she would either eat cake or not eat cake—sometimes she saw a “food” that was so bright and Odd looking (like candy) that it didn’t actually look like food to her so she would decline. But I had accepted cake by then–I had accepted the cake possibility as inevitable at some point.
I turned my back on the kids for a moment—a moment, mind you! Just to say hi to a friend! And when I turned back, Lily was in a trance. She was holding a little single serving container of vanilla ice cream and was spooning it into her mouth slowly and rhythmically and staring at the container in rapture, as if to say, “Where’ve you been all my life?” I looked for something to grab onto, most likely her dad’s forearm, because my legs felt weak. Yes I had been ready for cake, but I had not been ready for this.
“What’s up?” he asked.
“It’s Lily,” I said. “She’s eating ice cream.”
I had to get a look at the ingredients.
I took a breath and let out a yogic exhale. “Can Mommy see this?” I asked, leaning into her trance to turn the container in her hand so that the list showed. It was endless. All of that…stuff. All of that stuff I had been able to direct her away from, unpronounceable words that kept ice cream at just the right texture, perhaps for decades, now being spooned into her mouth…and she liked it. Taking the ice cream from her would have been tragic on so many levels, but especially for me, socially. I could not be the ingredients police. Family normality was at stake.
After the party, she asked us what that white stuff had been. I wanted to say it was a phantom food that really didn’t exist, I wanted to say, “What white stuff?” or claim that it was a special concoction that Cole’s parents invented that wasn’t available anywhere else in the world. But no. I had to let go. I had to let her join the world. I couldn’t keep her in my organic little bubble forever.
“It’s called ice cream,” I said. “And on your birthday, you can have it again.” Her fourth birthday would be in two months. It comforted me to know that that would give me plenty of time to find an organic ice cream parlor.
Watermelon birthday cake? I love watermelon!
Single servings of ice cream seemed like a good idea at the time, but what do I know? I don’t even like ice cream that much. After the party, Joe informed me that when it came to ice cream, in the future we would never again take a single shortcut but scoop the real thing from the carton.
I had organic ice cream once….
What about you? Muse with us about your food experiences and expectations. Odd Loves Company!