Eat Your Veggies!

A colored-pencil sketch to interpret my daughter's imagination

Two-year-old Eowyn just brought me a can of peas and cooked baby carrots.  It's 10:30am and she's hungry for a snack.  Green peas this early in the day?  Why not!  She loves them, which is amazing to me because I hate them. Ich hasse Erbsen.  I had to say it in German because I feel just that strongly about it.

I like almost every other kind of vegetable or fruit-masquerading-as-a-vegetable.  And as a mom with diapers to change and sharing-fights to referee and bad habits to prevent and whining to endure . . . I am very grateful that my girls like their vegetables too.  Most of the time, anyway.  One less thing to worry about, right?

Eowyn and Penelope and I all celebrated our birthdays in January and February.  Eowyn turned two (and Penelope turned one) so this was really the first time that it made any sense to her.  She was mesmerized by the candles and let them burn down to little stubs before she tried to blow them out.  Then all throughout the day and even into the next week she'd beg me to re-light them so she could watch the dancing flame and then the spiraling smoke after she finally blew them out.

Even after all of the candles had become scraps of colored wax, Eowyn kept alive the joy of making a birthday wish--by playing with her food.  She was eating her favorite peas and cooked carrots one day while I washed dishes and I glanced over my shoulder, interested to hear her singing "Happy birthday to you" so many weeks after the birthday excitement had worn off.  What I saw was my blonde ringlet-ed goofball cradling a baby carrot before her eyes, singing and grinning the same wide smile she did in January when she was so delighted with her birthday cake: she had discovered the carrot's sort of fibrous core, biting away the outer edges to leave a little string so that the veggie resembled a fat orange candle.

This is now one of her favorite past-times--discovering which produce just might turn into birthday candles after she takes a bite.  Wisdom from a two-year-old: Vegetables are good for us!  Why not celebrate them as daily birthday gifts?


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