“Well” Sebastian says, “Pizza!”.
“Of course.” I say. It was, after all, a day trip to Dave and Buster’s with his winter camp.
“What else? I ask.
“Cookies!” His eyes are lighting up.
“Two more cookies.”
I sigh. “And?”
“Oh, and a carrot.”
Now that came as a surprise. I asked him again. He confirmed that a carrot had been eaten. One more time. I had to look deep into his eyes to make sure he wasn’t bullshitting me.
“Yes, I ate a carrot.” He smiled, proudly, knowing very well that his proclamation made me incredibly happy.
“And I had cotton candy.” Smirk.
Oh, he knows how to layer the information flow. He knows it very well.
Why does this one baby carrot hold such significance? For one, it wasn’t put on his plate by us, his parents and we weren’t hovering over him like the great helicopter parents that we are. He ate it on his own. Weeks of placing two carrots on his plate seem to have finally lowered his vegetable inhibition. Which says a lot. I mean he would scream and squeal at the mere mentioning of a vegetable since he was two. I don’t know how it all happened but one day vegetables were the devil. Now, at six, he is finally willing enough to try them, try new ones and re-try the kind he used to eat.
When Sebastian was a baby and off the tit, the only responsible parental thing I really did was to prepare mashed vegetables for him. Steamed carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale even. That was before the word was being printed on T-shirts as a statement. We mashed avocados for him and he ate them all. Some he liked better than others (kale was not a hit) but he ate vegetables. And then, just like that, it was all hot dogs and chicken nuggets and french fries and pizza. Especially pizza — tomato sauce notwithstanding. So naturally I’m excited to hear that one vegetable, the esteemed baby carrot, has made it into his consciousness. We are presenting him with a whole variety of vegetables now and ask him for nothing other than to try them. Just give it a try. You might like it, we say.
The other day we went to Tender Greens, a salad place that serves chicken, steak, and fish. We had to call it “The Chicken Place” throughout the vegetable blackout years just to get him to walk through the door. He had steak, mashed potatoes, and grilled carrots. We thought that cooked carrots would be an easy sell after clearing the raw baby carrot hurdle, even if it was a purple specimen. Well, let’s say that about five minutes in I started filming. Here’s Sebastian psyching himself up to eat one little piece of carrot.
PS: I was the same when I was a kid. And I still can’t eat raw tomatoes. Skin + texture = nausea.
—Bad Papa West