I recently confessed to Gill that I have lost a bit of weight. For most people this announcement would be made with a large dose of pride and a marching band. I, unfortunately, started out weighing in at 95 pounds. I am now down to 90 pounds — truly a 90-pound- weakling. With my confession, Gill went ballistic.
“Ma! You’re a tiny bird to start with! You have to start eating more. There will soon be nothing to you but a shadow with large sunglasses, fabulous shoes and a big grin. Do something NOW or when I’m home in the summer, I’m going to force feed you through a tube and it won’t be pretty!”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake! I’m perfectly fine. The only times in my life I’ve weighed over 100 pounds is first year university when I gained the ‘freshman 15’ and when I was pregnant with you three. I come from a long line of tiny but wiry British people. I even had an uncle who topped out at 4-foot-seven-inches and probably weighed as much as the dog I’m babysitting this week. I come by my stature (or lack thereof) honestly. Besides, it doesn’t matter how much I eat. I don’t gain weight.”
“Ma, you’re losing the plot! We’re not even talking about gaining here. We’re talking about not losing. If you get sick, there’ll be nothing to fight off a disease. You should be eating more fatty things: cheese, butter, ice cream,potatoes, chocolate.”
“You’re nuts! I do eat those things — in moderation. If I eat more, I’ll simply be a collection of clogged arteries and nasty fat blobs. That’s not helping anybody.”
“Well how about frozen yogurt? You like that. If you eat the fatty version, that might work and still be good for you. Plus, it has calcium for your poor, pathetic bird bones.”
“Oh, I see where this is going. You want revenge for all the stupid crap I made you eat as kids. You figure I made you all miserable with carob candies, spelt bread, rye crust pizza with no cheese and leafy green vegetables — so now you figure you have the power to turn the tables. News flash: you don’t. I eat a reasonable amount for a person my size and I get full easily. Stuffing myself isn’t the answer. Besides which, Crazy D thinks I should be on his current food regimen: lots of vegetables, no meat and lots of nuts and seeds. So the two of you will be fighting over who is going to win in the battle to make me miserable. Well done!”
It truly is amazing that two of my children could have such definite yet opposite views of the perfect diet. Of course, there was a time, in their teen years, when all three converged over a vegetarian diet. I was the only holdout for meat. And strangely, although they outnumbered me three-to-one, I was the one stuck with cooking for them — cooking dishes I had no interest in or taste for. It was a lonely time for the meat section of my fridge. I’d find myself opening it once a day just to say hi and let it know it hadn’t been abandoned.
When Gill became anemic in her late teens, she went back on meat. She never went whole hog (pardon the pun)like Crazy D did with meat eating when he reconverted, but at least, with two of them back on my side, I didn’t have to endure the raised eyebrows, rolling eyeballs and caustic remarks about killing Bambi. Not that I didn’t still get those comments from L’il Sis when she went vegan(the food equivalent of religious radicalism I suppose). I suspect but cannot prove, that her rapid conversion had something to do with the dead rabbit (properly butchered, from the supermarket) in the freezer. Even I admit that the sight of it turned me off meat…so much so that I eventually threw it out — couldn’t bear to cook it. I felt guilty abut doing that since it had been killed to eat and by not doing so, I was disrespecting the rabbit but, when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it.
Crazy D went through an intense period when he ate the all-meat, all-the-time diet. I came close to throwing a side of beef down to the basement for his dining pleasure (back in the days when he virtually lived down there. There’s something about teenaged boys and dark, dingy basements…)
At any rate, I will take both Gill’s ad Crazy D’s dietary advice into consideration. Then, likely as not, I’ll ignore them both and keep on eating exactly what I want. Although, just to make it fun, I might taunt them a bit, letting each of them think they’ve won the battle, then changing my mind at the last minute. It would be fun watching them compete for the favorite child (i.e.: the one with the best diet choice) moniker!