My kids are freaks.
They actually like healthy food.
It’s embarrassing sometimes. We were at the Denver Zoo last weekend with the cousins, and everyone was hungry, so we quickly loaded up a tray and nabbed a table. I actually felt a little self-conscious as Annabelle munched on plain lettuce and begged me to save her some grapes, while Sophie ate sliced turkey and several hunks of pineapple and watermelon.
The girls are far from perfect. They prefer juice or lemonade to “ice cold water,” cousin Ben and Kate’s beverage of choice. And I didn’t call my first blog post “Chocolate Dance Party” for nothing. Annabelle has a thing for gummis. But given the choice, they’ll almost always go for fruit — at least on the side.
I wish I could take credit. The food thing has weighed on me (pun intended) since long before I hatched these two eggs. (Speaking of which, is it better to give them eggbeaters, or the real thing, or do mainly egg whites and toss a couple eggs in for color? I still don’t know.)
My mother recalls that she was always very careful about what she gave me, which I say led to a life-long obsession with forbidden food. But Mom insists that when it was obvious that first plan hadn’t worked so well (I was unpleasantly plump from a very early age) she tried the opposite with my younger sister, giving her pretty much whatever she wanted. That didn’t work out so well, either. (Let’s just say that you’ll never see either of our bat mitzvah pictures posted on the Internet, if Jenny and I have anything to do with it. I also have to say that Jenny is now a stick. Bitch. But she earns it; she runs several miles a day.)
And, unlike when we were kids, now the obesity epidemic is in full swing, the papers full of warnings (I just read a Yahoo headline when I signed on to write this) that what we teach our kids will dictate their jean size for life.
Against all odds (and probably only partly due to my own efforts — I DO make an effort — although Ray will tell you he’s way better at the food thing, his former McDonald’s/Taco Bell addictions aside, and it’s true that he’s not bad, although the department where he truly kicks my ass is exercise, a topic for another day) my kids are healthy — on the small side, if anything. Both love good food. Neither is obsessed, even when it comes to Sophie’s chocolate ice cream.
The other day, cracking up, my mom told me that Annabelle had complained to her, “I’m hungry for carrots, Gaga.” (She made due with three small bowls of blueberries.)
I give my mother in law the credit.
You should see my in laws’ wedding picture. Pat’s waist was 20 inches, tops. Teeny tiny. Non-existent. Break in half skinny, but healthy looking. Bitch. I’m sure it’s partly luck, but I also know she eats healthy (and says she’s had to watch it more as she’s gotten older). As my mom likes to say, I clearly traded up, when it comes to genetics, and Annabelle has the body to prove it. (And here I have to stop to say that my own mother, Gaga, was an equally beautiful — and just about as tiny — bride. But she probably didn’t eat for a month before her wedding.)
I also know that Pat has taken great care to teach both girls — particularly A.B., who in turn has shown Sophie — to love healthy food. She does it by feeding them fruits and vegetables and explaining how good they are for them, but in a low key way and without pushing. She’d never push — she insists that as the grandma, she doesn’t have to make them do anything they don’t want to do.
I’m cool with that. Hey, my kids like brussel sprouts. Who am I to complain?
And since she IS still the grandma, she won’t deny the occasional treat, like a Dum Dum lollipop or a small baggie of M & M’s.
She’s a great role model. Reading back over what I’ve written, I’m really not sure why she’s been able to get the girls to eat so well, and to carry the good habit into their worlds. It’s like that elusive thing that makes some girls popular in high school.
I”m grateful. All of us — particularly Sophie, who, if Down syndrome stats hold true, will be doomed by a low thyroid on top of whatever metabolic disaster she inherited from the Silverman side — can use every crumb of help we can get.
And so tomorrow, on Pat’s birthday, we’ll have corn muffins (Grandma’s request) and chocolate cupcakes. But most everyone will likely fill up on the homemade fruit salad.