Benjamin’s hunger strike caught us unprepared. He is our eater, the one who wolfs down chicken tikka masala, broccoli, or kidney beans, then rejects the cookie we offer for dessert because all he wants are clementines. While we did not know how the stress of the move would manifest itself with him, we sure as shootin’ knew he would eat whatever we put in front of him.
The lesson here is that as soon as we know something for certain about our children, they are duty bound to take a 97° turn. Unable to starve himself completely, Benjamin opted for the closest alternative. He stopped eating everything except strawberries. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but his diet for the first week we were here was about 80% fruit, and that mostly composed of the large, red berries currently in season. And, while he was getting his vitamin C, it made for some disturbing diaper changes.
And so, while his brother tried new foods (almonds! hibatchi chicken!) and gloried in the giant sandbox of a beach, Benjamin struggled, overwhelmed by the new sounds and the new tastes and the new feel of the sand between his toes.
And then, slowly, the child we once knew reemerged. At the beach, he took off his shoes, gingerly placing his little feet on the sand. Twenty minutes later, he was doing full-body sweeps, pushing the sand from side to side with the force of his entire body. Clearly, we were over the fear of sand.
As I watched him munch on his pre-dinner asparagus while watching television, I wondered if perhaps he was ready to start eating again. Then, we sat down to one of his favorite meals, a bean curd dish he fondly refers to as “toady!!” I had made enough for two adults and one child, but it soon became clear neither J nor I would get our full portions. It kept disappearing down the twenty-month-old’s throat.
Asparagus and tofu, it turns out, also makes for some interesting diapers.