My husband recently made a mini-grocery run for me, knowing I would be coming back late from Salsa class with our older son. “Look,” he said beaming, “I got you cold cuts for the week!” It was such a sweet gesture and he was so proud I didn’t have the heart to tell my loving husband that one pound of turkey would be gone in less than 24 hours. But he’s right, there was a time when a pound of turkey and a package of cheese would get us through the week. When our kids were infants.
Feeding active children is similar to being the chief engine operator on a locomotive train. Not that I have ever been in a locomotive train but in all the movies, there is some guy shoveling coal into an engine pit on a regular basis. That is how I imagine my job as a mother, at least as it pertains to food.
It all starts the night before. I make the lunches for the kids, with Christian needing 4 sandwiches -- two with cold cuts, and two PB and J’s. Michael prefers wraps (bye pound of turkey!). I then shove any dinner leftovers into the cleanest tupperware I can find so Anthony and I can split lunch the next day (yes, we are frugal and proud of it!). Then I defrost something I can throw into the crockpot or the deep covered baker the next day. My life is a constant shape shifting of defrosting and cooking. One misstep and we are all coming come to frozen beef cubes instead of a pot of beef stew.
It seems like just yesterday I was mashing up bananas for my babies and MARVELING that they could eat half a banana. Or paying the extra dollar for “Yo-Baby” organic yogurt (totally not worth it by the way). My theory was, the kids will eat whatever we eat, so I would mash fruit and vegetables, then fish and chicken with my little hand blender, and feed it to them. No baby food. I was just so proud of myself. This system worked great. Until it didn’t.
Michael, my youngest, was 5 months old when I mashed up some tilipia and gave it to him for dinner. He took a spoonful and smiled at me. Then he turned pink. Then red splotches broke out all over. Then he simply blew up to twice his size and with his little overblown rolls of fat looked like a baby Michelin man. Thank God we are 5 minutes from a major hospital. We blew into St. Luke’s on Dubois Street and didn’t even have to stop at admissions. The nurse took one look at us and said “JUST GO!” The wonderful doctors and nurses got the epi in him and with some benadryl and a promise to never feed him whitefish without medical clearance, we were back home in a few hours. Anthony and I were stressed out of our minds, but not Baby Michael. He didn’t even cry. He just laughed and cooed even when he was getting stuck with needles. Such a happy baby. He still is a happy go lucky kid.
And, hard to believe, my happy baby will be turning 12 on Wednesday. All parents say the same thing, but really, where does the time go? It just went. And I will continue to defrost and shovel -- I mean feed -- my kids for as long as they’re under my roof. And even then I think I’ll find a way to mail them dinner. Because -- if you haven’t figure out my theory on life yet -- Food is Love. Have a great day everyone and as always Remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo
(photo from Kennebunkport Maine 2008, Boys ages 4 and 8)