Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The Whole Cob of Corn Wouldn't Have Fit In The LunchboxMy daughter is mad at me right now, but when I try to be mad at her right back, I can't. Whenever I think of her at all, it's just a blur of wonder that this fantastic and beautiful and interesting person is MY daughter, and that all the other mothers in the world are jealous of me because she's mine and not theirs.
She was talking in complete sentences before she was a year old(as many geniuses often do) (brag). In this picture, she had just interrupted my daily singing of "Wash the babeeeeee" (sung to the tune of "Kill the Wabbit") to tell me that she was a baby dish.
"Why are you a baby dish?" I asked her.
"I'm in the dish sink," she replied, and gave me that look she still gives me when I ask a stupid question.
"Would Daddy be a Big Dish if he took a bath in the sink?" I have a real talent for asking stupid questions.
She had a giggle-fit at that, looked at me with something like pity in her eyes, and said "Daddy not fit in this sink."
Belle has always loved to be center-stage. When she was a little girl, she was so waif-thin that total strangers were concerned and gave me advice on the streets. Relatives were always trying to trick her into eating, but she outsmarted them all. She ate when SHE wanted to eat, and not because of any arbitrary absurdity like 'lunchtime' or 'family reunion.' We celebrated each bite she took like the Fourth of July.
That is probably why she figured the whole universe would be interested in her eating habits. One Sunday evening, when she was about five years old, the entire extended family went to church to see and hear her sing in the Bible School choir. Before the last note had stopped resonating, she stepped forward and announced to the congregation that "I ate a whole cob of corn!" Then she curtsied, stepped back into the choir, and marched off the stage with them, leaving a church full of people who were stifling giggles most unsuccessfully.
Her hair is red now, like her brother's, but when she was a child, she was a curly-haired Goldilocks. I am not all that good with hair, euphemistically speaking, and she usually wore a curly ponytail to school. I considered it fancy if she had a ribbon around it. Sometimes I gave her two ponytails, but I was also afflicted with the total inability to make a straight part, so from the back she often appeared to be leaning to one side, or zig-zagging dizzily. She learned early on that if she wanted cool hair, she would have to learn to do it herself, and she did.
I am crazy about her.
I really miss shopping for school supplies, particularly for the all-important lunchbox. I miss packing two lunches every morning. Neither of my children cared for sandwiches so finding a fairly nutritious lunch was something of an adventure. It's a good thing there were no peanut butter rules in their school, or Belle would have eaten nothing all day long. (Don't get me started on those peanut butter rules; it's unfair to forbid all children from bringing a certain food just because one child has allergies and can't keep his fingers away from other children's lunches.) (And yes, I understand about the breathing it thing, too. Let the allergic kids eat somewhere else.) (Why no, I don't mind saying that in the least. Other mothers didn't mind asking my child to give up her lunch entirely, did they?) Peanut butter on crackers, because she didn't eat sandwiches. Sliced dill pickles. Barbecue potato chips. Fruit, or fruit rollup. Carrot sticks.
Today is the first day of school here. Maybe that's why I'm waxing nostalgic about lunchboxes and carrot sticks. Or, in Zappa's lunch, a can of tuna, red-hot cheese stix, an apple, and a miniature pizza, baked and wrapped in foil to keep it warm. That works, by the way.
Not the typical lunches for either of them, I know. My kids were never typical. But I seldom made them eat the school lunch. For one thing, those lunches are TERRIBLE, and for another, I didn't have the money.
Mainly, I figured, and still figure, that if anyone doesn't like what the school cafeteria is serving, that person should bring his/her lunch from home. And if someone is getting their lunch for free, that person should say 'thank you' and shut the hell up.
Weird lunches, weird kids, weird mom. Yeah, whatever. I packed what my kids would eat, and I tried to balance it out a little bit with nutritional goodness. One of my degrees is in human nutrition, but I obviously never used it much. Heh.
Speaking of which, the ice cream was delicious. I say 'was' because its existence is in the past tense now.
And so it officially begins.