Oldest is my culinary challenge. It's not that he won't eat certain things. It's that he seems to forever be chowing down things he shouldn't!
It started as a baby. If he went to play in the mud, we had to sit right beside him because within moments his little hand would grab a glob and drift right toward his mouth.
"I've eaten lots of dirt as a kid," people would confess to me as Oldest went through this stage. They assured me that it probably did them some good, and that all people needed to eat a little dirt now and then. I didn't find this fact as interesting as they did.
As life continued, he periodically imbimbed on things he shouldn't. Once when he was two, our little family went fishing on a remote river in western Alaska. It was a fisherwoman's dream come true. I got to catch them, and my hubby volunteered to gut them out and babysit at the same time. I lost myself in the most glorious fishing I've ever done. The Man Who Puts Up With Me let our toddler explore the little island at will, but at one point when he glanced up to check on Oldest, discovered our little boy "petting" one of the fish. Slime dripped off Oldest's hand. Mystified, our son tried to shake it off, but when that didn't work, began licking it off. Daddy couldn't get to him fast enough to prevent a little fish slime from going down the tube. The errant babysitter didn't have the heart to relate the story to me for quite some time.
Then our hound came live with us. Had I ever known this would open up a whole other eating world for our then fourteen year old, I might have protested adding the four legged addition to our home.
One day shortly after we loaded up on possible treats for training Rikki, the hound, I put a couple of dog biscuits on the table, then went into the kitchen to cook some dinner. Within moments I heard Oldest say, "Mom, these crackers are stale!"
"What crackers?" I asked, truly puzzled.
"The ones I found on the table," he answered.
Slowly it dawned on me, and I tried to keep a straight face as I said, "Yeah, they probably don't taste real good since it's DOG BISCUITS!"
Of course, he's too cool to get upset, but I noticed he didn't eat the second half of the doggie treat.
Rikki, however continued to have competition for his treats. One afternoon Oldest rode home with Hubby in the big rig. At one point in the drive, Oldest piped up and said, "Dad, this jerky is the worst I've ever tasted!"
"Where'd you get it from?" asked The Man Who Puts Up With Me. Oldest pointed to a little cupboard. "Well, that's because it's Dog Jerky!" exclaimed Hubby. "It's rawhide!"
Dog treats apparently aren't approved by human taste testers.
Yesterday topped the culinary adventures list. While I was standing at the stove cooking dinner, Oldest walked in and came over by me. We chatted amiably, and then he picked something up from the counter. "Huh! What an odd shape for a chip!" And he popped it in his mouth.
Within seconds he said, "Whoa!" and took three steps back.
"What?" I asked, concerned now that something was either really good tasting or really bad.
He chewed several more times, and his eyes began to water. Then he gulped, and his eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. "What was that?"
"What?" I asked, now a little more frantically. We normally don't keep dangerous things on our counter, but I didn't want the boy to get hurt. My mind quickly went to the little dish of dog treats that I keep there, but they are bone shaped. I didn't think he'd get into those!
"This," he said, reaching back to the area where he had gotten his "snack." "Is this garlic?"
Sure enough. He had popped a garlic clove straight into his mouth.
By the time it registered into my brain, and I started to laugh, he asked, "What's going to happen to me now?"
"Well," I said, trying not to fall over from laughter, " you won't have to worry about vampires tonight. Or parasites for that matter."
He didn't turn green, but good naturedly laughed it off. He felt it all afternoon, too, and I wondered about the poor kids who had to take driver's training with him. Of all the things he has eaten, this one still cracks me up. Never a dull moment in the life of the kid who needs to explore.