Two phenomena of childrearing that cease to amaze me: the joyful willingness to eat things that are not food, yet reject the delectables that Mom has prepared; and the ability to view ordinary objects with extraordinary possibilities. Cases in point:
Leo eventually became what we decided was an excellent eater - especially compared to his brother at the same age. He tried many new foods, ate the same healthy choices without batting an eye, and ate heartily. But it was a phase. Suddenly, Leo is Mr. Picky Picky. He goes on only-freshly-made macaroni-and-cheese binges, followed by "snack food only" streaks, followed by rejection of the food he loved the day before. He turns his nose up at anything new, remotely new, or possibly just seen the day before yesterday. Oddly, though, two quirks interrupt his picky stage. One: while refilling the bird feeder with "gourmet seed specifically blended for cardinals and songbirds," excess seed spilled onto the deck. Thinking nothing of it (except maybe that it would entice the birds to come closer) I did not bother to sweep it away. I look over not once, not twice, but three times to find Leo eating the birdseed!!!!! And loving it! (At least he's moved on from the cat food he used to digest daily...)
Two: there are some strange habits I've retained from my childhood. One is eating a birthday candle on someone's birthday, but that's a topic for an entirely different blog. Another is eating raw spaghetti. As long as I can remember, I have eaten raw spaghetti as the rest of the pasta has properly boiled in the pot. It's a trait I picked up from my mother, and it has always baffled Jeff. Every single time I've cooked pasta in the 9 years we've been together, I've eaten raw spaghetti. Every single time, he's stared at me with an incredulous, horrified expression. Much to his dismay, BOTH Aidan and Leo have developed this same affinity toward uncooked pasta, and munch on it while waiting for dinner to be served.
Aidan's ability to see objects in a myriad of possibilities never ceases to amaze or delight me. Ordinary objects like paint stirring sticks become wings of an airplane. Bungee cords become trailer hitches; the trailer itself might be a deck chair, his wooden boat, his brother.... Short-handled brooms become swords and wands. Plastic hangers become "getters." And peanut butter, paired with a superhero cape, apparently makes flying possible among ordinary mortals.
Sometimes, I get exasperated. Why can't Leo just eat the perfectly normal English muffin pizza I've made him? And why can't Aidan simply see a chair as a chair, meant for providing a resting place for the weary? I know I'll come to miss these days, though. When Leo is a famished teenager, eating us out of house and home, and Aidan refuses to get his weary self up from said chair, I might look back on today and chuckle. I guess that's my food for thought, then: this computer, this Internet, this blog, an ordinary object with extraordinary possibility, helping me to remember forever what might otherwise be lost, the daily minutia of childrearing that makes the journey so joyous.
Aidan and Leo: Just Add Peanut Butter!)