Every parent knows how tough it is to get your kids to eat certain things, and not eat other things. There’s that little trick where you tell your kid that vegetables give you SUPER SECRET powers that only adults can have, and all of a sudden, the little guys can’t get enough of whatever it is you’re fooling them into eating. Or there’s the blackmail method, where you offer candy in exchange for a certain amount of bites taken. Whatever it is, kids are picky. They’ll eat bugs but not lettuce. They’ll eat dirt but not apples. Basically, they’re weird little creatures.
Case in point: my brother used to only eat beige food.
Kids are also scared of certain foods. What kid hasn’t refused to eat any form of spinach simply on principle? It’s spinach. It’s disgusting. Match, set, point. You don’t need logic when what mom cooked for dinner looks like mushy green cat vomit. Who cares if it tastes delicious? Who cares if it gave Popeye super strength? Spinach looks like the devil.
Accompanying Generalized Anxiety Disorder are usually some forms of obsessive compulsive tendencies. For me, I go through food phases. Growing up, I literally ate bagel bites every single day for years. Those suckers were delicious. Then, during my parents’ divorce, I ate waffles every day. Not like Eggo waffles, mind you, but Belgian waffles. Complete with strawberries, syrup, and a shit ton of whipped cream. It’s a miracle I’m not diabetic or like a million pounds. But I ate waffles every day for about two years, until suddenly I stopped. Now waffles are a rarity, albeit a delicious one.
When I was three, I ate blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese on a daily basis. Sounds scrumptious, right?
I mean, sure, it was the perfect combination of fruity and carbohydrate-y and my little mouth couldn’t get enough of the fruity little buggers. But my little brain was busy being crazy. Way, way crazy.
I was in mid-bite of my delicious berry amalgamation when suddenly–“AAAAAAH!”
The tears started flowing, I put the bagel down. “THERE ARE ROLLIE POLLIES IN MY BAGEL!” More tears, and my gag reflex went into full effect.
Was my mom crazy? What kind of mom feeds her child a rollie pollie bagel? Doesn’t that constitute cruel and unusual punishment? What had I done wrong to deserve such a terrible, terrible thing? Now, I don’t remember exactly how my mom reacted to this sudden break from reality, but in my 3 year-old imagination, it went something like this:
My mom tried desperately to console me. And by “desperately” I mean she laughed at me. Her eyes turned black, the whites swallowed by the demonic possession. Fangs sprouted and her tongue split in two. She stank of sulfur and spinach.
“Whitney,” ha, ha, ha, “Whitney… those are blueberries,” ha, ha, ha, “not rollie pollies… You love blueberries,” chuckle, chuckle. She was drooling poisonous droplets. Her fingers had grown to thrice their normal length, accompanied by claws as thick and dangerous as Velociraptor talons.
She rubbed my back menacingly. In a hideous, snakelike-mixed-with-caveman grunting, she tried to convince me into eating the rest of my meal. I could not. This demon creature could not force the little bugs down my throat. I was three, but I wasn’t an idiot. No way was I going to eat the rest of that bagel.
When the hysteria had passed, I looked at my mom again. She was back to her normal self. This incident sparked the most common reoccurring nightmare I had as a child: I’d be sitting in a highchair, my mother trying to get me to eat something (probably blueberries). She would then descend some stairs and go underwater. Curious, I would follow her, only to find that she had changed into the Creature From Under the
Kitchen Lagoon and was busy socializing with other monsters. They would turn and see me, and chase me back into the highchair. Eventually my mom would return to scold me for being impatient.
I didn’t eat another blueberry for sixteen years. When I did, I found out lots of other things were delicious, too. Like sweet potatoes, green beans, oatmeal, and yes, even spinach.