This month it was my daughter’s yearly physical. My daughter is smaller than many girls her age and with a history of Crohn’s in our family, our doctor has shown some concern when our daughter fails to thrive ie. gain any weight. We’ve always been of the opinion that eating is not her number one priority. But our doctor – and she could be right – says often when a child doesn’t eat it is a sign that there is pain when digesting. Needless to say, diet always comes up.
My daughter sits beside me as our doctor asks her various questions. I feel awkward during this period of time. I don’t want to look at my daughter as it may appear I am coaching her on what to say (“I only watch one hour of tv a day”).
I also don’t want to be looking at our doctor as it may appear that I am budding into a conversation that has nothing to do with me.
I stare at my lap.
Our doctor asks about food.
“How are you eating?”
My daughter shrugs, so I tell our doctor:
This means she eats little over a long period of time. My daughter can turn a pork and rice meal into a marathon.
She also does not like fruit and less so vegetables.
“What vegetables will you eat?” she asks my daughter.
“Carrots,” she says.
This is a staple. Our doctor informs her that it is possible to turn orange if she eats too many (extreme case). My son would have immediately only wanted carrots from then on if this had been his appointment.
“Do you try other vegetables?” our doctor asks her.
I stare back down into my lap. It is her turn to answer.
“I eat lettuce,” she says.
“Good. But you need to try more. Do you eat broccoli?”
My daughter shakes her head and says:
“It’s never really put in front of me.”
Nice one. And kapow, it happens. The moment where up to now I have just been an innocent bystander minding my own business and then suddenly I’m guilt ridden with fingers pointing at me.
I imagine our doctor thinking: So there’s the problem. This lovely little child would eat it. Mom’s just too lazy to put it in front of her.
Really, our doctor wouldn’t think that. But if she did – she’d be partly right. I gave up a while back. I tried asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, different kinds of potatoes that weren’t fried. I grew tired of a disgusted face and a tongue sticking out like I’d just given her a broiled piece of turd.
So carrots it was.
I always thought that ‘turning orange’ thing was an urban legend.
Later on, our doctor touches lightly on a new topic: the turning into a woman stuff. She asks my daughter:
“Do you know about getting your period?”
My daughter stares at her blankly and then shakes her head. In my own head I roll my eyes and sigh loudly. But in front of everyone, I say to her:
“She means menstruation.”
My daughter nods, Oh yeah.
So next point: Mommy. I use the big word instead of the easy word.
So far it’s a tie.