I’ve tried to be cool about how we’re rearing Eli. Goodness knows there’s enough guilt available from external sources for me to be manufacturing my own. But his eating is driving me crazy.
It’s not that he doesn’t eat. He has a healthy appetite and, like toddlers everywhere, is quite willing to snack his way through the day. It’s his five-loaf-a-day bread habit that worries me. Oh, sure, he eats other things. Cheddar cheese. Hummus. Cheddar cheese dipped in hummus. But above all, he loves bread products.
“I needa biscuit. No, I needa waffle. Crackers. I need crackers.”
Next to a blanket and a pacifier, crackers calm him down the most. When we put him in his carseat, the first thing he asks for is more crackers. It’s as if he’s training for a race.
I try not to worry, honest. Misty tells me I’m being silly. The internet tells me that this is normal. And yet, there it is, the guilt of Damocles, hanging over my head.
When you become a parent, you get a free subscription to Guilt magazine. You don’t have to subscribe! It shows up at your house regardless! And you can ignore them. You can let them pile up in an unused corner of a closet in a guest room. It doesn’t matter. One day you go to fetch something out of that closet, your eye falls on the uppermost issue in the stack, and wham. Guilt. The titles of all of the articles in the magazine are emblazoned on the front cover, screaming out at you in fear-mongering-point text. “IS YOUR CHILD EATING ENOUGH VEGETABLES?” “HOW YOUR TODDLER’S LOVE OF CARBOHYDRATES WILL CAUSE IRREVERSABLE DEATH!” That sort of thing.
Right now my hope is that, when Eli becomes an adult, there are organized bread-eating competitions. I can see him now, a large strapping lad of two-and-twenty, beaming at everyone who just watched him down two entire loaves of Wonder Bread, nutritiously-empty crumbs trickling down his shirt.