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YES, he finally eats. Everything in sight

Submitted by on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 No Comment

I’m not sure if Big Guy was being cunning or air-headed when he came to the Book Fair room where I was volunteering at school earlier this week and said he’s lost his lunchbox. “I can’t find it anywhere,” he frowned.

I told him I’d bring him a lunch, but he’d have to wait until I finished at the Book Fair. When I left, I searched the car, the parking lot, the house, the fridge – just about everywhere a lunchbox could hide. I couldn’t find it, so I hastily assembled a new one.

By the time he got home that day, the original box had turned up, hiding in a dark corner in his classroom. “I guess it was there all along,” he said. I still suspect that he knew I was just down the hall at school so he hatched up an excuse to visit.

“So which lunch did you eat?” I asked.

“Both of them. All of both of them,” he said. “I would have bought two milks, too, but I lost my other two quarters.”

Whoa. Who are you?

You look like the same boy whose lunch came home half eaten or less every day last year. You have a strong resemblance to the kid who used to subsist on half a cereal bar and a handful of Goldfish until late afternoon.

But, yet, it couldn’t be the same child, because this one eats … and eats … and eats. He cleans out his lunchbox every day and eats a sleeve of graham crackers with milk when he gets home two hours later. He gobbles breakfast without complaining. Usually dinner, too.

He’s packed on six pounds since the end of first grade and outgrown the clothes I just bought at the end of June.

Big Guy? Is that you?

Yes, it is, and I’m euphoric.

I’m also stunned. No mater how many people told me to be patient because he’d start eating someday, I still freaked out. I fretted over nutrition and fussed over quantities. I cajoled him to eat “just five more bites,” and I lectured about nutrition.

None of it did one bit of good. Folks, you were right. He started eating when he was ready. And man, is he ready to now. Note to self: Start buying four gallons of milk at a time.

He’s still picky, mind you, though his repertoire is growing. This morning he tried blueberry coffee cake. He didn’t love it, but for a kid who’s insisted for five years that he hates blueberries, it was a major concession.

Somewhere out there, there’s a mom of a 5-year-old who’s going through the same thing we were. She’s worrying that her kid is going to die of malnutrition or be swept into space the next time the wind gusts.

I want to tell her this: Relax. He’ll eat when he’s ready to. Really, he will.

She probably won’t believe me any more than I believed anyone two years ago.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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