Just quickly, because I know my vomit posts have been numerous lately and I don't want you to think that's the only thing I talk about here, J is having a good day today. She's been eating stuff on the BRAT diet (per doctor recommendation and despite newer evidence that this is not a nutritionally sound diet) and drinking apple juice and water, as well as trying to play low-key games and activities: television watching, Barbies, Play-doh, etc. It's definitely a challenge to keep a girl with her spunk down for long, but we definitely don't want her overdoing it and going right back to sick tonight. She's also remaining medicated for nausea, so hopefully that's helping her heal and not just masking the cause of her illness.
Anyway, speaking of foods J's not eating these days, S and I were having a conversation last night about what factors matter most when deciding whether or not we like a food or a meal. We happened to be shopping for her prom dress together and after 87 stores (actually 6), we finally found a darling, purple, flow-y dress at Ross that will work great for her figure and height, etc. Even better, it was only $15.99. So while we were out, we tried a new sandwich place, which was "ehh," so that got us talking like the food critics we are, about other foods, other restaurants and other meals we've had that we didn't really love and why.
She determines her dislike of foods mostly based on their taste, their aftertaste and their texture. While I, on the other hand, determine my dislike of foods mostly based on their messiness to eat, their texture and their taste -- in that order. I don't like eating foods that are a mess.
For that reason, I have never been a big fan of noodle soups. I love soup. Bean-based soups, cream-based soups, hearty stews are okay once and a while (though, I don't really like mushy cooked carrots, so...), but do not serve me chicken noodle soup. Canned or otherwise. I don't like how the noodles get overly soft and flop on my chin, dripping juices down my shirt when I eat it. I've tried every way to eat noodle soups nicely and I just can't figure a way. I do, however, make exceptions for wonton soups and noodle soups that use things like penne pasta instead of longer pasta types -- only if they're very good and made fresh.
My sandwich at dinner last night had nice, fresh ingredients and the bread was pretty okay, but it was a crusty roll-type of bread and with each bite, my sandwich filling was squeezing further and further out the other side. This left me with a messy, gooey part of the sandwich without bread to hold it that I had to figure out how to eat as politely as possible or waste half my money by tossing that part of the sandwich. It frustrated me.
I like to cut up my spaghetti and then still eat it holding a napkin under each forkload -- and it's rare (if ever) that I order it in a restaurant. I love (cooked) sushi, but if they make it too big to fit in my mouth in one bite per piece, it makes me really mad. Seaweed paper is not meant to be bitten through with ordinary human teeth and to do so means rice falling everywhere.
I like food that is easy to eat. Most of my life is pretty messy as it is, so when it comes to meal times, I don't want to have to fight a war. I just want to taste and enjoy.
On the way to bringing S and H to youth group tonight, I had to laugh at a conversation they were having about the future kids they'll have. I mentioned that it's good they each have brothers and sisters because then when they marry someone and have children, they'll have some understanding of the opposite gender. I mentioned about a future conversation between H and his daughter where she is talking about getting highlights in her hair with the assumption he won't know what they are and he will know -- he has sisters!
S said, "Yeah, J and I will probably end up with all boys, and the boys will all probably end up with all girls."
H said, "No! I don't want all girls!"
S said, "What's wrong with girls?"
H said, "I'll go broke. I'll just spoil them all too much."
I asked, "So you won't spoil your boys?"
H said, "Well, maybe, but I'll really spoil the girls because they'll be so cute."
I laughed because sometimes his softer side is so surprising to me.
S said with a slightly superior sounding attitude, "Well, boys or girls, I plan to treat each of my children equally. I mean, I'll do boy things with my boys and girly things with my girls, but they will definitely all know they are loved equally all the time. And as long as they're obeying the rules and being respectful, I don't care what they do with their time."
Now I really laughed and sarcastically said, "Yeah, that sounds great. You do that."
She kept insisting about how it would go and I just nodded and smiled. I do love all our kids equally! However, as most mama's know, that doesn't mean I like them all the same on any given day. And when we factor in individual personalities and ease in relationships based on them, it's practically impossible to treat them in a way that will convince the kids themselves that they are loved in equal amounts. Somebody is always jealous or feeling left out no matter how hard I try.
Kids have such different needs. They have different love languages and different journeys in life that will require more of our time and energy along the way. I mean, when S ran away from home last year, most of our focus was about getting her back and I know our other four felt a little left out and unimportant at the time. They weren't! But clearly, our focus on S was important and each child would want as much from us if they were in similar situations.
Now that J is sick, I'm still taking time to shop for prom dresses with S and to play Yahtzee with H and to give plenty of hugs to the other boys; I'm driving everyone to practices and youth group; but J needs a lot of extra assistance and caring. I think the boys would feel weird if I was treating them like they were sick like J and giving them that much attention while they're well. They'd probably wonder what I wasn't telling them.
My daily time is not equally spent with each child. I just can't do it. I have to address the needs that arise as they do. But I do love them all equally and if they dug down deep, I hope they would understand and know that.