11:26 AM EDT, May 11, 2010
Let me start out by saying that I'm not sure if this blog post has a point, but if it does, maybe the point is that you should do whatever you want. You know. Within reason.
When I was a child I wasn't a picky eater, as many kids are. In fact, my parents tell stories of me finishing my plate of food - ethnic, spicy, you name it - and then going on to finish theirs. I liked to try new things. Now that I'm a mother and am friends with other mothers, I realize how unique this was.
My little brother, on the other hand, was more judging in his food choices, and by that I mainly mean that he judged sugar to be best. Most pictures of my brother, Vinnie, as a toddler, feature him in footy pajamas with jam on his face. He loved to eat toast and watch Disney cartoons, and my mother once discovered him perched high on a kitchen counter after building some kind of climbing fortress so that he could get at the Easter candy.
I think about this a lot when I talk to mothers now. My daughter is a great eater as far as toddlers go, but she certainly has her days. Like how she begged for pizza so desperately when we were out at Sally's the other night that the kind people who were at the next table - and who had gotten their pizza before us - gave her a piece. But she wouldn't eat it at first because it was "hot," as in, had any warmth at all. And we had to watch her flail her arms like some kind of enraged dinosaur until it cooled down to the appropriate temperature.
I know that the majority of children can be picky to the point of extreme annoyance for their parents. Loving something one day and refusing it the next. Eating only grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly. It's really, truly frustrating to make a meal for someone and then watch them throw it on the floor. Really, expletive-deleted frustrating.
What I'm getting at is I mention my brother when I'm talking to moms about food. He was picky as a kid, but has become a total foodie as an adult. He's a great cook, he's in good shape, he doesn't get into life-threatening situations to obtain candy. The point being that a few years of refusing what he deemed inedible as a child didn't shape his entire life, and I'm pretty sure it didn't hurt his overall health one bit.
So this is the part where I get to this morning, although I admit the train of thought may not make perfect sense.
Despite my eagerness to eat just about anything when I was young, the one stubborn and constant refusal was eggs. I would not eat eggs. I hated them.
Here's the secret, guys. I still do.
I hate eggs. But, astoundingly, I eat them. Sometime in my twenties I convinced myself that I could handle omelettes because they are so much more than eggs. Cheese and vegetables have somewhat transformative powers. I've grown to like omelettes, or at least tolerate them, and order them regularly when we go out to breakfast. I put scrambled eggs on my plate when we're eating at somebody's parents' house when we're at one of those post-wedding breakfasts because it would be so weird to eat just toast and bacon, wouldn't it? Although, you know what? That's ALL I WANT.
The real kicker is that I occasionally make eggs for myself at home. The ultimate torture.
Why? Seriously, why? I think the answer, first of all, is that I know eggs are good for you. They're a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. If you're losing the carbohydrates for a week or two in order to fit into those jeans that, I swear to God, you used to fit into so easily, eggs will inevitably be part of the plan. Also, they're really prevalent in our society, including the society that lives in the McDonough household. My daughter loves eggs. And my husband is constantly trying to perfect the art of the egg sandwich.
If you've stuck with me this long through my recounting of the warped psychology behind an absolutely meaningless subject matter, I'd like to point out that, yeah, it makes no sense, but I am trying to get at a deeper truth. Which is that I do something I do not like for silly reasons. I eat eggs because I think it somehow makes me a better person.
I know. Crazy. But we're all guilty of this kind of behavior, particularly women, I think, and definitely mothers, who are constantly striving to be role models. We worry that these completely innocent things we do - or do not do - will have a lasting and permanent effect on ourselves, or on others. If I watch the morning news will my one-year-old become addicted to crack? If I choose reading a magazine over working on the jigsaw puzzle, will I deprive my loved ones of precious, family memories?
I hate doing jigsaw puzzles, too.
This is a ridiculous way of saying it, I realize, but I suppose, when you get down to it, that I do have a point. You shouldn't lose yourself in the inane details of daily life because you assume one way of living is better than another. Let go.
This morning I made myself eggs because I wanted to have a healthy start to my day. And I was sitting there struggling to finish them, as my dogs begged at my feet, when I had a sudden moment of clarity and thought, "This is (expletive deleted) insane." I stood up and gave the plate to them. "I don't need to put myself through this." I'm the good eater. And I will survive.
I poured myself a second cup of coffee, which is something that I like very much. Welcome home, inner child.