Calcium is the bane of my existence. For over two and a half years, I consoled myself about Zachary’s picky eating by saying, “At least he gets plenty of milk.” All that matters, I told myself, is calcium, and he was a milkaholic.
And then he went on the wagon. It was sudden and it was complete. One day, he just stopped drinking milk.
Sure, he’ll drink chocolate milk. And he’ll eat Trix yogurt. And chocolate pudding. In other words, he’ll take milk products that are cleverly disguised with hills of sugar.
Orange juice with calcium is not an option because he needs to get his iron supplement in his orange juice and calcium and iron inhibit one another’s absorption.
His brother is not much better. He’ll drink a little milk, but for a two-year-old, he’s pretty unmotivated by dairy products. He has only about eight things he does not like to eat, but included among them are yogurt and cream cheese. He gets enough calcium through broccoli and tofu – if he were an adult. For a toddler, he’s not doing such a great job on feeding those bones.
Thank heaven at least Benjamin likes macaroni and cheese. Zachary, on the other hand, will eat the cheese at school but informs us that the cheese at home is different.
We are down to Kraft singles in grilled cheese about once a week. We’ve been giving Zachary calcium supplements and praying to the cheese gods.
Who apparently heard our prayers.
In the last five minutes of our drive back from Family Camp, Zachary began to give me instructions. Detailed instructions.
“Mommy,” he said. “You need to get me cheese like the cheese they have at school.”
Dazed from five hours in the car, I responded, “OK, Zachary.”
“It needs to be the square kind, not the flat kind. You can get it at the grocery store near our apartment,” referring to the temporary housing we moved out of a few months ago.
“And you have to cut it in squares.”
“What color would you like this cheese to be?” I enquired.
“White. No, orange. No, can you please get the white cheese and the orange cheese?”
Now, I have been fooled before. I have gone to the store and I have purchased something I thought he wanted, only to find out it differed in some imperceptible way from the item that had been requested. So, I suggested that perhaps he could join me for this shopping trip for the specific cheese he required.
Big mistake. For the rest of the afternoon, all he could talk about was going to the store to buy cheese. Finally, the next morning, J made it to the store with him. They bought the cheddar. They brought it home.
And the children ate it. A lot of it. Till we were almost out of cheese. “I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole,” I told my husband.
Yesterday, Zach ate more cheese. So, I returned to the store. I bought more of the exact same cheese. I am skeptical about whether it will actually pass muster, but I figure I have to try.
For the children.
I wrote this last week but didn’t get to post it for one reason or another. No one will be shocked to hear that Zachary has ceased to express any interest in cheese.