“I sing to defy you.”

September 9, 2013

Notable Stats

Song Verses per Stall (SVS) – The amount of verses your child sings before finally breaking down into tears or throwing the “poisonous” food they don’t want to eat, on the floor.
Grin of Defiance (GROD) – The number of teeth your toddler shows when smiling as she counts on cuteness to mask her ridiculousness.

We have learned that it is possible to turn a vegetable into a hit-making song that gets downloaded more than “Gangnam Style” on YouTube. Our 20 month old has found a way to make American Idol jealous by releasing her hit song “Broccoli” and she sings it with a smile.
Of course, the video that lives in her own head was not that amusing to her parents. From our standpoint, we saw it as funny, but also as a toddler not wanting to eat food that she likes so she could bask in the glory of being able to say “no” to us. We take it personally, as we should, since babysitters have no issue getting her to eat food that is not white or tan in color. Even her 5 year old brother has more success in getting her to eat food that he wouldn’t eat with a ten foot pole. 
Yes, she actually likes broccoli, she eats it for others, she pops it in her mouth like candy when she is particularly excited about it. Yet when we want her to eat it, when we highly suggest that she eats it, she breaks into song. 
Besides my concern that our daughter will contract scurvy from a strict diet of crackers, milk, pasta, and oatmeal, I recognize that she is our third. So our mix of exhaustion from running a bus service around the city and dealing with the parental choices we made with our first two, we give our third latitude. Eventually, we say to ourselves, she will eat food that has color. Eventually, she will develop a palette that includes foods that are not reserved for the incarcerated, or for those that just had their tonsils removed. 
Give it time, we say. Since we have seen the expansion of tastes in our other two children as they grew from toddlers to pre-schoolers. Our baby will not be eating bread at 17, right?
For now, it is a game. Even as we know we could raise the battle stakes to another level by puree-ing spinach and hiding it in ice cubes, milk, ice cream or the only non-white food she eats, bacon. We can get down and dirty too without a smile and without a soundtrack. But we are hoping she will come to it peacefully, without the high speed blender mashing disguisable spinach, or the funny faces and false sampling we have to exhibit to show her that green is good.
Then again, she knows that.  She is working us over with her toothless grin of euphoria. How can you get upset at anyone smiling so brilliantly and singing at the same time? It is so charismatic, that we are supposed to forget health, forget that part of that grin is her laughing in our face. We are supposed to be lost in her singing a song that is upbeat and funny even though it is reserved for our dietary parental funeral. 
The third born tends to lose that battle should we wage it. We know that in the end, being healthy will trump getting the public to download a million singles of “Broccoli.” That all good songs come to an end, all good videos will have streaming issues from too much demand. Singers get tired and need naps, toddlers eventually learn the power of an “if then” statement. If you don’t eat your broccoli, then…. 
So, sing on my little siren child. Make song out of the healthiest veggies on good mother Earth. Dance, laugh at the dinner table as you try to get another cracker out of the box. But never forget that we are on to you, we will support your music career, but when all is said and done, you will not get to eat only white foods for long, unless they have turnips hidden in them.
- Doug Glanville


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