My plan was to wait until after the boys were in bed and then heat up a stuffed pepper left over from last night’s cooking spree. Do I have a good avocado? While I was reading their bedtime stories, I thought about sweeter things. Bowl of cereal or oatmeal with maple syrup, or oh! ice cream. During the final round of hugs and last-minute Q&A I remembered that we have two hamburger patties in there and I could eat them with gluten-free gravy and rice from last night and it would be like eating steak from elementary school lunches which I’m sure we can all agree tasted amazing. Why isn’t there a restaurant of those meals? I know there are places like Ryan’s where the food looks like school food, but it’s not the same. Mmmmm, salisbury steak would be amazing at 10:00 at night.
While I don’t have an eating disorder, I certainly have some disordered eating habits. Like: I like to be alone when I’m eating because I do not want anyone to watch me eat or comment on my food or ask me why I like to scoop a little of everything into one bite. I don’t want to answer any questions about why I like this or don’t like that, or why I’m not eating enough and/or eating too much. Kevin doesn’t give me a hard time about what I eat. That’s what makes it neurotic.
Like: perhaps along these lines, I hate eating in front of a mirror. It doesn’t come up that often but when it does, oh my goodness it’s distracting and bad.
I don’t like to be overstimulated. Extremely loud music or bright lights for example, make it hard for me to taste anything.
I hate having air blowing directly on me while I’m trying to eat.
This one I didn’t know until I had kids because it never came up: I can’t stand being leaned on — or possibly touched at all? — while I eat. Children love to lean on their mothers during meals. Did you know that? It’s one of those things no one tells you, like the secret about the poop and the fact that it’s normal for your baby to hit a 103 degree fever and then break out into a horrifying rash and the rash is a good sign so save yourself that copay because it’s a virus and the rash means it’s over. Kids lean. A young child : A mom who is eating :: James Dean smoking a cigarette : a lamp post on a foggy street. They don’t even realize they’re doing it. Their brains make them do it; they have to do it. And I have to respond like an aging, cranky food-aggressive cocker spaniel.
Which, it just occurred to me that I don’t allow Beezus to stare at me while I’m eating. Or lean on me. Even the dog has learned to leave me the hell alone if there’s food in front of me.
Once they were in bed I was free! Free to go in the kitchen and mix up any darn thing with no one around to say a thing about it other than the dog and it’s not like she can judge me; she’ll politely request a full dog meal four minutes after her last dog meal.
Because another eating thing I have (do you do this?): I often reward myself for surviving the day with a very rich snack. I hit the wall of night with such an intense mix of exhaustion and relief that there! I did it! I survived an entire day filled with words and needs and questions and work and feeding and straightening up messes and reminding and talking, so much talking. My kids are amazing human beings and I love them to their absolute core but raising and teaching them is climbing a mountain and juggling satsuma oranges at the same time. It’s learning to unicycle with a poorly balanced fully grown goose on my head. They want to know every detail of everything, they want me to look it up, explain it, draw it, answer questions about it. They want to build, cut, draw, sew, glue, and now with the addition of mr. obsessed chemist, they want to extract, distill, combine and measure exothermic reactions. They want to eat, eat, eat, thousands of times a day. They argue over IMAGINARY THINGS.
Graham mutated into part shark last week, very tragic etc, and I spent many mornings trying to bring our house into ADA compliance for shark children. He kept feeding me my lines and motivation:
Mama, pretend you secretly think it’s only a costume.
“Well I DO think that.”
Now pretend you even got one of those magazines for parents that’s all about what to do if you kids tells you that they are part animal.
I started to pretend all of that when Nicolaus produced an invisible magazine and read the invisible article. “This parenting magazine says that it’s very common for kids to think they are animals, but don’t worry, they will stop in a few hours.”
Graham was annoyed. “No! It doesn’t say that! It says that you’ll know for sure whether your child is pretending or if he’s actually mutating more quickly than you’d expect. And it says that if your child is really mutating then there’s nothing that doctors can do.”
“Well I’m the one who found it and besides, I don’t think six year olds can really read well enough for this grown up parenting magazine”
“THIS magazine is in a language from My World and I can actually read all of it.”
“FINE then I guess I don’t get to help you decide anything about what the parents will think about whether you’re really transforming into a shark or not!”
“NOW I won’t let you read any of my other magazines including ones about birds while you would LOVE. Because you can’t even bother to be nice to me!”
Does reading that make you want to hide and eat ice cream? If not, maybe I’m not explaining it right. I promise if you heard them having this argument over imaginary things that minimally impact an imaginary problem, you would be debating between chocolate or cookies n’ cream.
But no, I decided to be good. Now I’m in bed, kinda hungry, munching on ice water and typing on the laptop and in a few minutes I’ll be asleep.
Because that’s my hot new diet plan. No exercise, no counting calories! Here is all it is:
1. Identify the parts of your day where you eat stupid amounts of stupid food.
2. Then when that time of the day comes, instead of eating
I’m going to be a famous weight loss expert if it works and you will read about me in this magazine I have right here about famous skinny people with smart ideas.