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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Waste Not, Want Not*

Today I put out a bowl of carrots on the kitchen table for the kids to snack on. The bowl sat there for a couple of hours and no one really seemed interested in eating the carrots, until they noticed the 2 year old eating them.

She had taken the bowl down from the table and was walking around the house with it.

The kids all began digging into the bowl and eating the carrot sticks with such enthusiasm, that I was reluctant to tell them where the carrots had been. What they don't know can't hurt them, right?

Did they really need to know that the 2 year old had dumped them out onto the carpet. And that she had put them back into the bowl, pausing long enough to lick a few of them. Or that she had dumped them out a few more times and took bites out of random carrots. And she used them to color on the glass sliding door. What's a little germs among family members, right? I think the dirt caked on their hands and under their fingernails was much more vile.

I considered telling them, but I knew then they would demand a different snack. And, well, the carrots are good for them and would go to waste if they refused to eat them.

So they continued eating. Until one of the kids noticed some carpet fluff in the bowl. Then one of them noticed that some of the carrots had bite marks. And further investigation revealed chewed up carrot pieces in the bottom of the bowl.

So, I don't think they'll be eating food they find their sister carrying around again. If their collective reaction was any sort of indication, they probably have developed a lifelong aversion towards carrot sticks.

But at least they didn't go to waste.

* When I was a child I went over to the house of a friend from school. Her mother frightened me, and given what my mother was like this says a lot. Her mother always wore her hair pulled back into a really tight bun, giving the illusion that she was pulling her face up with her hair. A poor man's face lift, if you will. Any way, this one particular day I was supposed to eat dinner over their house and I didn't like what she had cooked. She said "Waste not, want not," which meant nothing to me and she made me sit at their kitchen table with my plate of food in front of me until it was time for my mother to pick me up several hours later. When my mother came to pick me up I was crying and the woman told my mother what had happened. And my mother yelled at me for being picky. Yelled. at. me. If anyone ever dared to treat one of my children that way I would tear the persons head off and serve it them.

I have hated that saying ever since.


Blogger Lisa said...

This is similar to my children using the same dixie cup, over and over, even though fresh ones are hanging there, and I bought them so they wouldn't keep passing on each other's germs. Maybe I should mention Mel was using it to play in the potty? Waahaaahaaa! What's a few microbes between family members.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous epiphany said...

I call it the 5 hour rule. If the food has been sitting on the floor for less than 5 hrs and the dog hasn't eaten it...well by all means have at it! 8)

10:33 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

Thats terrible to make a child sit that long. You wouldn't want to see or hear what I would do to that lady had it been my child. What in the world is wrong with grownups some times! Stuff like this just makes me so angry. I probably shouldn't of even read it!

12:44 AM  
Blogger J said...

Whenever I hear stories like that, I always think of Mommy, Dearest. My 12-yrs-older-than-me sister did that to me when she was babysitting once and my dad tore her a new one. The sad part, though, is that they had done that to her when they were new parents and that's why she'd done it :(

6:47 AM  
Blogger Annalise said...

LOL about the carrot sticks. I like Epiphany's rule :-)

And shudder about the evil mom. My grandmother did similar stuff to my own mother ... lucky for me this made my mom very sensitive to the food issues I had as a kid,and lucky for Em too, because without my mom's voice of reason and compassion there are def. times when I might have been tempted to try a (modified, less brutal) version of that with her.


9:11 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

LOL I love 2 year olds...

10:44 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Wow that chick was psycho! If anyone did that to my kiddo, they would feel the wrath of pissed off Beth!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an uncle who did the same to me. Liver and Onions. I think he cooked it just to torture us!

One question
has ANY kid ever in history eaten the meal being forced upon them?

I know I sat there for like 3 hours until he finally let me up.

haha, I won.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Wickwire said...

My sister and her children freak out about things falling to floor, it has to be immediately picked up and thrown into the garbage. I'm not that anal but I hate going to her house with my two year old.

AND that is one disturbing story, especially that your mom let Nurse Rachid get away with a life long scarring memory. If only she knew at the time.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom made one meal. We had to try it. We didn't have to eat it if we didn't like it, but she was not going to make something special. I must be a hard a**, cause I guess I don't have the same problem with it as everybody else sees.

3:06 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

Hmm...I don't see ti the same way, I must be a hardhead or something. My mom would've done (and did) the same thing. should that mom have cooked you a separate meal ?

3:08 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Really anonymous internet person and stephanie, you don't see a problem with that? Are you my mother? That frightens me as I think it was wrong on so many levels.

My mother did the same thing to me as this woman, and while I think that was wrong too, my friend's mother completely overstepped her boundary. What kind of a control freak do you have to be to try to force a guest in your home to eat your dinner.

If I were in the same situation I would offer the child a piece of fruit, a bagel, or something along those lines. I wouldn't prepare another seperate meal, nor would I expect someone to do that for my children.

Perhaps I come from a different place, in that I feel my children are capable rational beings who can make their own decisions about what goes into their bodies. People who deserve to be respected, in the same way an adult guest would be.

And for the record, I only prepare one meal, I am not a short order cook. But I don't get hung up on what they eat or how much. I figure it is my job to prepare the food and their job to eat it, or not.

4:31 PM  
Blogger thicket dweller said...

In our house, you have to take a "no thank you" helping of a dish you've never tried and think you won't like. Two spoonfuls. And if you still don't like it, you don't have to eat it. If you're not happy with the meal (which rarely happens), you can make yourself a sandwich. I guess in my mind, waste not, want not is fine until you're wasting a perfectly good, happy child over it.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a GREAT mom. Your post shows it. You took some bad experiences as a child and transformed them into the wonderful family you have today. :)

2:28 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...


Mea culpa, both were me. I was having trouble getting my ID to work- didn't think it went through, so typed in a new comment.
It wasn't that I wasn't a rational being, but that I was being disrespectful. If you've gone to the effort of cooking, I should be appreciative and at least make an effort to eat it. Now I agree I wouldn't get hung up on how much...but unless I'm allergic, someone who has prepared something for me deserves my gratitude, not a disrespectful "Well, I'd rather eat something else."

3:45 PM  

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