Saturday, November 1, 2008

What if she's nothing like me?!

My daughter--my only daughter--doesn't like mashed potatoes.
I don't understand this. I don't understand how anyone can not like warm mounds of mashed potatoes with butter, milk, and salt mixed in. Sure, some throw in sour cream or even cream cheese while they're at it, maybe some garlic and chives. But I prefer the simpler version. Gravy's a bonus but by no means necessary.

When I was in high school, my mother would buy the boxed kind so I could eat them for breakfast before heading to school. Don't judge me. It was fast, easy, filling, and low in sugar. You want to tell me those poptarts you ate were any healthier or any stranger once you break down the ingredients?

As I was saying, Emma doesn't like them. In fact, she gags on them. I keep trying to get her to eat just two bites: "Just two bites, Emma, and then you can be done." I keep hoping one of these days she's going to say, "Wow! I had no idea these were so incredible. Thanks, Mom!" But she doesn't. She puts that one sad little bite in her mouth and then gags. Literally. She closes her eyes and convulses slightly, covering her mouth like it's going to all come right back out. Still, I urge her to try that second bite. Again, don't judge me. I'm only looking out for her best interests. Life is so much more enjoyable with mashed potatoes.

She doesn't like sour cream either. The rest of us happily dip our quesadillas in sour cream and salsa. She refuses the sour cream and relies only on the salsa. I don't understand this either. You need the creamy with the spicy. It's an issue of balance, ying and yang, Cagney and Lacey, Hall and Oates.

What she does like? Tomatoes. She'll sit and eat an entire bowl of them: cherry, pear, grape, doesn't matter. She's not picky. She also loves red peppers and will eat them like apples. What 6-year-old does this? I don't understand.

Because she's my only daughter, I've often worried I'll never connect with her. When my oldest son was born, I thought, "I don't know how to parent a boy! I'm a girl!" By the time she was born, I had no idea what to do with her. When she was 2 and stubbornly refused to wear any shoes I picked out, the panic only increased. I didn't care about shoes until high school. And when she went through her solely pink stage? Downright upsetting. I was never a girly girl. I climbed trees, built forts, tramped through the woods getting poison ivy, came home with dirt under my torn nails, leaves and grime in my hair. The only reason I played with Barbies was so I could cut their hair and make ugly clothes for them.

Then today I took Emma to her first basketball class. She stumbled around the court, tripping over herself, her tongue hanging out as she concentrated on getting that ball in that basket, missing by a good foot every time. At one point, she broke down in tears during a relay because she slowed her team down.

And that's when I realized: she's just like me. Exactly. The spitting image.

So no more mashed potatoes for her. She's earned a reprieve. And when she grows and matures and realizes the folly of her ways, I'll share a huge bowl with her as we laugh about bruised knees and stubbed toes.


Maryanne said...

I've felt the same way about my daughter (#2 surrounded by 3 boys). But as Jared has noted, she has temper tantrums just like me (OK, maybe she is me taken to the extreme).

My kids also don't like mashed potatoes and I think they're weird for that, and my six year old will eat a whole red pepper in a sitting. More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Great post!
I've thought the same thing about my daughter too. She used to wear costumes from the dress up box to preschool and I was a shy quiet little thing who didn't want extra eyes on me whatsoever. But now? Even our voices sound exactly alike. It confuses her brothers on the phone when she calls from college--and she takes full advantage of it!

By the way, very creepy story you shared today on my blog! I bet it will show up in my dreams! :)

How I love mashed potatoes! I've never had them for breakfast, but now that I think about it, I bet they'd be good!