Lesbian and Gay Parenting book coverIn a Family Way

A column by Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Chilled Green Salad

Posted By on July 1, 2009

Chilled Green Salad
By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Well, my baby just turned five years old this month. Can you imagine? Everyone says that having children makes you realize how quickly time flies–which is hard to believe since you are so sleep deprived each day feels as if it lasts a few weeks–but it really does seem as if it was just a few weeks ago that he was cutting his first tooth.

It is hard to say when babies become children, but it seems to happen overnight that a dependent, cranky bundle that needs to be carried around, becomes an articulate independent person, with their own agenda’s, social calendars and preferences. I remember when I first realized that my son had become a voting member of our family. We were in the car, and I asked my partner whether she was in the mood for Chinese or Indian food for dinner. From the back of the car quipped a voice, “I would like Chinese.” We both turned around — WHO WAS THAT SPEAKING? Indeed, we have never been able to simply make restaurant choices since that day without counting in his very strong opinions.

For instance, we were in Florida a few weeks ago, visiting my family, and decided to go out for a nice dinner. It is difficult enjoying a “nice dinner” while the baby (I mean our second child–the actual baby) is flinging baby food on the customers sitting next to us, and trying to eat the menu. I read the list of choices on the children’s menu to my son and then placed my own order. The waitress says to me, “Would you like soup or a chilled green salad with your meal?” My son says to the waitress, “Does my meal come with a chilled green salad too?”

Now you need to know, although my son is a very “good” eater as far as kid’s eating habits go, he has NEVER eaten a “chilled green salad” in his life. He was quite disturbed that grown-ups had choices not available on the kid’s menu (having, of course, been raised to be on the look out for discrimination). The waitress kindly offers him a chilled green salad that he graciously ate, including the shredded red cabbage (“ummm”) and croutons.

It has become a joke now at every meal. “Would you like a chilled green salad for dinner tonight?” I ask him. Strangely enough he politely declines each time, saying he prefers to eat chilled green salads in fancy restaurants.