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Mommy's Little Foodies

Before we headed out on our summer
vacation, Brian came to me requesting a serious conversation.
Concerned, I sat down with him apprehensively.

“Listen, we’re about to head out for a week of
fun,” he started, clearly nervous. “And I was wondering
– and I know this is your area and I’m not trying to
undermine it – but I thought maybe you’d consider
relaxing their dietary restrictions.”

I was indignant. “I can loosen up for vacation! I’ve
already packed Annie’s Organic Cocoa Bunnies cereal, and some
organic fruit-flavored Cheerios.”

Brian looked at me. “Jen, just let them eat Fruit Loops

So the girls lived high on the hog for the
week, and had a fantastic time. I didn’t completely lose my
senses – we still ate organic when we could, and had one
dessert at the most each day – but it was a far cry from our
normal diet. Breakfast at our rental house consisted of Fruit Loops
or the Cocoa Bunnies, and every other meal was eaten out.

The consequence of this, unfortunately, was that almost every meal
was either a cheeseburger or macaroni and cheese, especially for
Cora. Maddie was the more adventurous of the two, ordering dishes
such as rainbow trout (which was a severe disappointment –
“It doesn’t taste anything like a rainbow!” she
protested.) or complicated pastas – even venison sausage at a
great locals-only diner. But for Cora, the kids’ menu reigned
supreme, and she became a macaroni and cheese connoisseur.

One night we ended up at a great little Mexican restaurant, and I
tried to explain to Cora that macaroni and cheese wasn’t an
option. “Mommy, I know how to say ‘macaroni and
cheese’ in Spanish,” Cora said. “You just say
‘mac and cheese’ – that’s the Spanish

Maddie looked at Cora witheringly. “Cora, it isn’t
‘mac and cheese’ – that’s not Spanish. The
Spanish way to say it is ‘mac and queso’.”

I just left that one alone and ordered the kid a quesadilla.

The girls ate their way through the week, enjoying such unheard-of
luxuries as the occasional chocolate milk (once! Only once!), and
even a root beer or lemonade sporadically. I kept reiterating that
we were on vacation, and when we returned to Texas the
high-fructose-corn-syrup river would cease to flow. But we had a
fantastic time sampling delicious local desserts and artisanal ice
creameries, and I enjoyed myself as much as they did.

All the cheeseburgers and pizza slices began to take their tolls on
the girls, though, particularly Maddie. She began mooching half my
salad from me at dinner, eventually begging me to get her another
one for herself. It was at the zoo, though, on our last day there,
where things came to a head for her.

We were standing in line at the zoo cafeteria – which was
several notches above your average zoo eatery. Brian got some
excellent barbeque, and the girls both picked up a Fizzy Izzy
low-sugar soda to go with their lunch. I’d already ordered a
cheeseburger for the girls to split, and was standing in line next
to a refrigerated case waiting to pay. Maddie wandered over to the
case, where I saw some sad little pre-made sandwiches, those
ice-cream-scooped tuna salads, and dubious packaged puddings. I
watched Maddie pick something up – I couldn’t quite
make out what it was- hide it behind her back, and sidle over to
me. “Mommy, can I ask you if we can add something to what
I’m getting for lunch?” she asked.

I looked at her sternly. “Maddie, we’re not adding any
more to the lunch – you’ve got plenty already, and
you’ve had enough treats for the day.”

Maddie nodded, looking a little desperate. “I know, Mommy,
and I’ll accept it if you say no, but I’d really like
to ask.”

“Ok,” I acquiesced, “but I’ll probably say

Maddie brought a tub of fresh cut fruit from behind her back.
“Can I please please have this for lunch?”

That’s my girl.


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