Down the rabbit hole

            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.

            “Yes, sweetie.”

            “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.

15 responses to “Down the rabbit hole

  1. Man, my kids do that to me all the time. They love something desperately, I buy loads of it, and then poof! it’s the worst thing they can imagine.

    At least you had one good calcium week, right?

  2. Ah, well. Such is the rollercoaster of cheese.

    I hope that the cheese gods smile on you again soon.

  3. Oh yes…been there. Kids are so good at this particular game of driving the mother crazy.

  4. ahh… this sort of thing happens in my home, as well

  5. A lot of adults do the same thing! 🙂


  6. Yup, it’s the dietary law of children that They Will Not Eat That Which They Professed To Love. In our house that has happened with hummus, peanut butter (I know), hot dogs (organic are apparently “rubbery” except to one child who finds them fabulous), pita based sandwiches… I think I need to go lay down for a moment at the thought of all that wasted food through the years.

  7. Oh you tricked me! I was happy that you found cheese they’d eat and then, that addition at the end.

    Bummer! Maybe they would like to choose a new kind for this week?

  8. I feel you pain, completely. My youngest will not eat any dairy, unless it comes in the form of ice cream and then not even at home, just when we our out. No bread, rice, fries….she’s a carb hating freak of nature.

    They’re fickle, these small people. Luckily, they’ll probably all be fine as adults despite it.

  9. If he were ten years old, I would seriously think he and Diminutive One were separated at birth.

    Thank God for Flinstones vitamins.

  10. I just mentioned to my daughter today that she had failed to eat even one of those little BabyBel round cheeses she begged for last week. I was hesitant to buy them because they were in bulk at Sam’s Club but she begged and insisted she loved them. Go figure.

    Well, good luck in the Great Calcium Challenge of 2008!

  11. yes, we get our calcium in some pretty odd ways as well – one of them being almond milk. For some reason that is palatable, especially when chocolate (from kids super food chocolate veggie powder) and also from a liquid calcium magnesium supplement that is cherry flavored but disappears in the mild flavor of white grape juice. Desperate times….

  12. Would it make you feel any better that I started meeting with a nutritionist who is amazing well-educated and knowledge who is totally down on the dairy thing in general? Feel like the cattle folks in America have sold us all false info. Points to books, research like The China Study to show how countries who do not include cow’s milk in their diet at all have lower rates of osteoporosis than we do in the U.S.

    It’s a hard one to believe after everything I always thought I knew about milk and calcium. Still not sure. But interesting to think about.

    Oh yeah, my kids aren’t up on kale so they aren’t getting their calcium from there …

  13. Anyone who’s blog is entitled “Wheels on the Bus” is for me!!! (It’s the kindergarten teacher in me. We sing that song for nine months out of the year.)
    My son STOPPED drinking milk after a nasty stomach virus when he was 4. He only uses it on cereal even now. (he’s 10). But- yeah- he likes other stuff like CHEESE. Meet me in the rabbit hole at 10:00.

  14. babe, give him a Tums once a day. super calcium-ish, those Tums. and he’ll think it’s candy.

  15. Cheddar is better, right? But that sucks that he lost interest in it in the end. Bummer. I LOVE cheddar cheese!