Tuesday, May 1

broccoli for dinner

Us three, sitting down for dinner: broccoli orzo salad on the table. After shoveling handfuls of buttered orzo (no broccoli pesto for him!) into his mouth, fast and determined and almost manic, my 15-month old slowly, carefully, lifted a piece of broccoli to his mouth. And ate it. ( Which is not the same thing as putting it into his mouth.) And ate another. This is the same child who just two weeks ago had me banging my head on the table, losing my mind because he wouldn't eat anything but cheese, grapes and crackers. Had me sending frantic text messages to my mama friends--what do I dooooo!? The same child who, at lunch yesterday, ate several pieces of sweet potato with little clumps of quinoa clinging to them. Who signed for "more." The same child who we're pretty sure now says "nana" for banana, who eats one in the morning and one at night, who knows where we keep them on the sideboard and points to them, then eats them with relish and gusto.

I held my hand over my own mouth, ostensibly to prevent equal measures of joy and disbelief from spilling out. Not very many things have made me as happy as seeing my grinning toddler eat a piece of freaking broccoli. The ease with which he did it, once he was ready. With no prompting or encouragement from me besides preparing it and setting it on the table. They all--my friends--told me it would happen. I wanted to believe it. What I couldn't believe was how little I had to do in order for it to happen. That it can't be forced, coerced--or even cajoled. One day he just turns a corner and eats vegetables. Oh, and sleeps also, through the night, and when he stirs awake, he goes back down on his own. I did nothing to make this happen. I've been desperate for months to figure out a way to make this happen. I am the mother--surely my input and direction is needed, is necessary. But no. All of my hair-pulling and hand-wringing have yielded nothing but handfuls of hair and grief. The best thing I could do for my son, and for me, is set some broccoli down before him, let go of any attachment as to whether or not he eats it, and enjoy my own meal. Then sit back, and be amazed. At his staggering ability for growth and change, for turning a corner and suddenly just doing stuff. Amazed at all the possiblity packed in his lean, strong, perfect little body. Amazed at just how powerful letting go really is.

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Linking up with Heather's Just Write series.


  1. good job mama! they'll do it in their own sweet time and since you've been offering healthy choices all along, he'll accept them (eventually) ;-)

  2. Woot! One five year old and one two year old have now made me a believer that you just keep making delicious, nutritious food and serve it up daily. At some point or another they will fall in love (and out of love) with what they're eating.


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