Day 167: Just do no harm

“My kids are going to eat all organic food. Nothing processed, ever.” – Everybody before they have kids.

After 6 months of trying to get your children to eat healthy stuff, you give in and just make sure the hotdogs don’t have nitrates, and the popsicles have “natural flavors and colors.” Your goals quickly change from “Create a super human” to “Avoid morbid obesity.”

I recently saw a Facebook photo of a friend’s toddler eating a handfull of lettuce and smiling. I shook my head  to get the cobwebs out, rubbed my eyes, cleared my throat, stood up, sat back down again, closed my eyes, put my glasses on, took a deep breath and looked at the picture again. It didn’t change. It still showed a smiling 2 year old sitting in a high chair eating a plate full of lettuce. I immediately considered the possibility of my friend’s family being refugees of some war I didn’t know about, but the highchair was too nice for any POW camp. I then thought maybe they had moved to somewhere in rural Poland or perhaps Albania, but the rest of the pictures in the album showed them at nice brunch locations in what appeared to be Portland, Oregon.

I had to come to terms with the fact that this family had accomplished the impossible. I can get my kids to eat broccoli occasionally, and sometimes trick them into some hummus, but lettuce? Raw lettuce with nothing on it? Really? Was your child born and bred at Burning Man, or do you only ever have lettuce available to eat? That’s probably the only way it could ever happen – if you took everything else out of your house and filled it with lettuce (yes, even the furniture). A child will eventually become so hungry that they will eat whatever is there, right? Has anyone actually done that test? I think my friend did and the answer is yes, if you build a house of lettuce and starve your child, they will eventually begin to eat the house. They might even appear to be happy about it.

The more I sit here and think about it though, the more suspicious I get. It was only a photograph. There was no video showing him swallowing the lettuce, or any photos of the before or after period. Anything can be staged, right? I use the following photograph of my child eating a whole pumpkin. Take that lettuce boy!


I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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