This Saturday during breakfast, we were all gathered around the table enjoying some of Brett's home-made coffee cake. This is one of the kids' favorite breakfast items ... and for good reason. I think this is a recipe that Brett got from his mom, so it's time-honored. But also ... there is a very, very generous layer of streusel on top ... very generous. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "streusel", it consists of butter, brown sugar and chopped nuts. It's the good stuff! But ... it's also the crumbly stuff. So ... while the kids love Brett's streusel topped coffee cake, it is by far one of the messiest meals we enjoy. So, I guess by default, this is also one of Gimli's favorite meals ... he's our little hoover under the kitchen table!
This particular breakfast, however, I had a little insight into our children that I had not yet recognized, or at least, not yet put into words. As a result of watching them each eat their meal differently, I realized that our four children fall into four very distinct eating categories. Now, while our children have years ahead of them ... I thought it would be a little interesting to see what sort of prom dates they will be when they grow up. Be assured that this is purely a projection. :) I'm certain we'll have worked out any kinks by that point. But, if nothing changes ... which we all hope isn't the case ... perhaps their dates would go a little something like this! :) Let's start with the oldest.
Aaron is (and always has been) an eater. Even as a baby, he was willing to eat almost anything. We were pretty thrilled with having a little kiddo that would eat Chinese food. That, however, is not the observation I made. What I realized this weekend is that Aaron is an eater who eats fast. He had consumed his coffee cake before I had even settled into my seat. He apparently waited for us to say grace and then simply inhaled his breakfast. As I began eating, he was eyeing the pan for a second piece. If we jump ahead to Senior Prom 2019, perhaps his dinner would go a little something like this. He pulls out the chair for his date (we've trained him well) and then takes his seat. When the waiter comes to the table he orders for them both and then it's time to wait for the meal. He starts talking about sports (of course) and munches on a breadstick, or two, or three. Eventually the salad course arrives and Aaron dives in. He's always loved Caesar salad so he's finished with that in about 4 bites. Seeing as his date is still picking at her's, he asks her if she's done yet. He eats hers, too. Eventually his pasta dish arrives and he gets right to work. Conversation has pretty much come to a stop ... for about 3.5 minutes. Then he's done and starts right up talking about ... you got it, sports, but this time he's asking about what sports his date is involved in. His date has eaten about half of her dish when he asks if she's going to finish that. By the end of the meal, Aaron will have eaten his and half of his date's salad, dinner and dessert. But he's such a nice guy ... and so very polite ... that she won't mind! :)
Norah, on the other hand, is a bit of a deconstructionist when it comes to meals. She (for as long as I have know her!) likes to take apart her meal prior to eating it. It's not because we routinely hide things in there (like veggies), she just likes a hands-on meal. And as a result, her hands are typically pretty much covered in dinner. Breakfast on Saturday was not different. She was smashing her coffee cake to a thin pancake and then breaking it up with her spoon and then shoveling it into her mouth. Shall we head into the future? :) Join me at her Senior Prom 2020. Norah accepts the seat pulled out for her (we know she will only pick a nice boy to go with!) and opens her menu. She browses the options for a few minutes and settles on crab legs, mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. She settles into wait for the meal and enjoys picking at the breadsticks and pulling them apart into little pieces before eating them. She manages to pick one breadstick into 37 pieces before her meal arrives. She goes to work on her crab legs ... hammer and tong! Seeing as this is a hands-on meal, she is relishing really tearing into her dinner ... literally. Fortunately, she also remembered to bring her own bib to keep the delicious seafood from staining her lovely gown. By the time she is finished devouring her dinner ... veggies smashed into her potatoes and eaten with relish, her date looks at her with surprise and admiration. She might be tiny ... but she's an eater! And such a sweet, understanding girl ... he'll want to ask her out again.
Now for Ashley. Ashley is our non-eater. We truly don't know some days how she is able to subsist on grapes, goldfish and milk. On Saturday, she was her typical picky eater. She began her pickiness by requesting an inside piece - one of the four coveted inside pieces. She doesn't like hard food and the edge along the side of the pan is apparently too hard. So ... she was very excited to get her inside piece. She started by eating off the streusel ... piece by sugary piece. She ate a few more bites of the actual cake part and then inquired as to whether there was another inside piece she could have. Join me now at Senior Prom 2023 as Ashley enters the restaurant. She plops down in her chair, not waiting to be seated and starts looking through the menu. This entire time, Ashley is talking, chatting and giggling. Her date is unable to respond to any of her questions or exclamations before she moves on to the next topic and so he settles in for one of the easiest dates of his life! Or so he thinks. :) The first warning comes when Ashley announces that she doesn't see Mac-n-Cheese on the menu. Nope ... no Kraft cooked here. She then asks the waiter what the softest meal on the menu is. Hmmmm .... interesting question. The waiter suggests the ravioli. She gives him a stern look and asks, "Are there any veggies in there? I don't like to have to pick out the veggies." Nope ... no veggies. Ashley decides to order the pasta and when asked what she'd like on the side she replies, "toast with cinnamon sugar on it, please". Yep ... this could be an interesting evening. Ashley doesn't end up eating much of her dinner and she only eats the buttery sugary bits of the toast, but she's so cute and such a perky, fun gal, that her date hopes she'll let him take her out again.
Finally we have little Lydia. Liddy is our scientist when it comes to eating. She likes to perform any number of experiments on her food prior to eating ... and sometimes in place of actually eating. She also seems to be able to exist on limited food ... and in spite of that, she is one of our chunkier babies. Go figure! On Saturday, Lydia enjoyed a few bites of streusel, a few bites of cake and then spent the rest of the meal checking the threshold of her her food and utensils. Apparently, a sugary ball can withstand about 26 pounds of pressure applied by a spoon at 135 degrees before it shoots off the table. Yep ... meals with her are fun! So it's with great excitement that we visit Lydia and her date at her Senior Prom 2025. As Lydia and her date arrive at the restaurant, she is enthralled with the aquarium in the waiting area and actually tries several times to reach into the water before being spotted by her date. Eventually they are seated. Or, at least her date is. Lydia takes a few minutes to check out the chair and see if it is structurally sound. She then tests it's integrity by balancing it on one leg and climbing onto the rungs. Yep ... it's good. Now Lydia sits down and tries to ignore the perplexed look on her date's face. She starts perusing the menu and has a couple of questions for the waiter. "What is the caloric value of the blackened salmon? How many grams of saturated fat are in the butter they use on the baked potato? What is the internal temperature of the lasagna?" The waiter stutters an, "Uh ... I'll be right back..." and leaves. Lydia is unfazed. She finally decides on pork chops, asparagus and mashed sweet potatoes. But not because any of it sounds very tasty. She has decided that tonight is the night to work on her construction of the leaning tower of Pisa. With the foundation of the mashed potatoes, she should be able to stand the pork chops up and then balance the asparagus on top. If her date doesn't mind sharing his salad plate, she should be able to top it off with that. While the evening started off odd, her date discovers that Lydia is ingenious and able to defy gravity with her food construction ... and they got their pictures in the newspaper for "Most Interesting Prom Night"! He'll be sure to ask her out again soon!
So ... as you can see, we have some interesting eaters and non-eaters at our house. Every meal has the potential to be quite an adventure all by itself. We just never know what sort of meal we are going to have: fast, messy, non-existant or creative. But I hope this little daydream makes you feel a tad bit more normal at your own home. And just remember ... we have a lot of years to fine-tune our little people's eating habits before Prom Night ... whew!
This blog post is a work of fiction. All teenagers portrayed here are are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual prom nights or teenagers is entirely coincidental ... I hope.