Expanding Andrew’s Food Horizons…a play in one act.

There’s this one item on The List that I try to keep in the back of my mind— “Expand my food horizons.” I love eating and I’ve always loved grocery stores, and I’ve been saving money by scanning things in grocery stores with Shopkick, so this has been an easy task to undertake. 

This year, for instance, I’ve learned that salad isn’t so bad (except Romaine—wasn’t it poisoned for awhile?). Spinach salad isn’t so bad when you throw on some goat cheese and balsamic vinegar from a tiny bottle. And if you order a salad, people think you’re doing your best. 

I’ve also learned that smoothies are a good go-to food for looking healthy and cute and young. So I’ve been making myself one every week with whatever frozen fruit I have on hand, whatever yogurt I get rebates on, and a handful of spinach. 

You’d think with my excellent example, Andrew would be happily shotgunning seaweed like all those kids on Pinterest. However, he will only eat the following foods: fries, pouches, cheese, blueberries, oranges, scrambled eggs, toast, fries, and ice cream. Yes, the list includes fries twice. That tells you that there are lots of fries around here. There are. Oh, so many fries.

However, I congratulate myself with the ice cream thing, because that was a stroke of genius. 

Back when we were having that crazy heat-wave last summer, I was making a smoothie to pass for my lunch. It consisted of frozen blueberries, peanut butter, a splash of apple juice, and a handful of frozen spinach leaves. All of it in the food processor became a thick purple sludge that, nevertheless, smelled great. Andrew asked for “some?”

Thomas and I looked at each other, wondering what he would do if he put a piece of spinach in his mouth. However, he’d asked for it and we weren’t going to say no. We spooned it into a bowl which he happily licked clean. 

Ok, well…so that’s something good, we agreed.

Every now and then, I dish up some “ice cream” for Drew. And it isn’t a secret that it has “leaves” in it—I make it right in front of him. Frozen berries, yogurt, splash of juice, handful of frozen spinach leaves. And he eats it up—literally every bite. 

So the point is this…it’s not like he CAN’T eat vegetables. Seriously, frozen spinach leaves! And he doesn’t care! But I handed him a plate of fries with baked chicken, which had been baked with peas. Hear me out…I’d removed the peas. He wouldn’t even eat a FRY because it might have touched peas at one point! I mean, maybe there had been one pea left on the plate but COME ON! They were leftover CHICK-FIL-A FRIES! And you’re gonna spurn those delicious crispy waffley potatoes because they might have hung out with peas at one point? Move on!

You can see my frustration, right? I’m worried that he’ll have all sorts of nutritional problems when he grows up if he continues this vegetable-phobia. Like I said, salads make you look put-together, and if you eat too many fries you’ll eventually lose the ability to eat vegetables. I think. I mean, I saw Super-Size Me all those years ago, but it just made me want to eat fries. And what if he has weird vitamin deficiencies? What if he passes out in PE because he doesn’t have enough veggie-induced stamina? I don’t know how this works, I just know you need to eat plants!

I’ve offered vegetables to him in all shapes and forms—squished in between pieces of chicken, covered in cheese, wrapped in spring rolls (he actually took a bite of that one—long pieces of cabbage hanging out of his mouth. He looked like a catfish.) But he’ll only eat those baby food pouches and “ice cream”. And eventually that’s gotta stop. He can’t take Gerber 2nd Foods pouches on his first date and play it off like it’s no big deal. 

(Actually he probably could—he’s super duper charming. But charm can’t do everything…I found that out too late.)

So what is there to do? 

They say just keep offering it to them, but it kind of feels like “a symbolic gesture”, as I read on Facebook. That resonated with me: the feeling that Thom and I are basically putting on a scripted drama every time we put a plate of food in front of our son. 

The curtain opens on a table with four chairs—in one sits a bearded dad. In one, a bespectacled mother who has pretensions to being a lifestyle expert. And in the third chair, an adorable little boy with bouncy golden hair like a figure skater and Prussian blue eyes. 

The mother, with a flourish, ladles a mound of chicken and peas onto the boy’s plate. Her gaze meets the father’s. 

With terror, mistrust, and a sense of disaster averted by his own sharp wits, the toddler objects with a movement of the hand and one line: “Take it away.” 

Well, there you go. I hope he someday finds a woman who likes fries and doesn’t object to adults who still eat baby food. 

Thanks, team 

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