If none of you are going to join the prodigy project, I'm just going to have to rant about something completely unrelated. Jeez.
Yesterday was kind of a madhouse here at Casa del Pinos y Krafft. We're in the process of replacing some furniture, and reorganizing the apartment, and it was payday so we had to pay bills and have the air conditioner guy come measure Connor's windows, and… I think you see my point. Yesterday involved a lot of people coming in to and going out of our apartment.
This was mostly all right with me. The house is a nominal mess, but it's mess that clearly stems from the furniture-moving and apartment-organizing, and I can deal with that. I have not yet become house-proud to such a degree that I will hermetically seal the front door every time we're trying to untangle the hall closet. (NB: Although, for the safety of others, this actually might be a good idea.) I did have a couple of squishy moments, though, like when Michael's dad came over to bring us Connor's new bed and help set it up — because only then did I notice that there were toys strewn all over the floor of Connor's room, his light fixture was dangling by its exposed wires, and he'd spilled his most recent cup o'juice on his sheet.
I don't know how any of that happened, I swear.
So, I worried about that because I didn't want Michael's dad to think we force Connor to live in filth, but I got over it. I worried about the air conditioner guy thinking we were the morons who decided to epoxy the storm windows to each other so that they can't be opened independently. I worried that Michael's friend Chris would think we were nasty slobs because there was stuff all over our coffee table and an Amityville-like invasion of flies buzzing through the house. I could deal with all of this, though. I know that most people are going to look around the apartment and think, “Dude, what a sty,” but then they're going to keep looking and think, “Oh, I see, they're sorting through their closets and moving a bunch of furniture, okay.” It's not the end of the world.
Except for the person who caught an unintentional glimpse of our kitchen cabinets and freaked out because, and I quote, “Connor doesn't have any food! No wonder he's so skinny!”
First of all, yes, Connor has plenty of food, and I'll address that in a moment. Second of all, skinny? Maybe you guys look at that picture and think my child is wasting away, but I highly doubt it. The kid is built like a linebacker, seriously.
Of course, the original point here is that this person thought, based on one look into one cabinet of our kitchen, that we had nothing to feed our son. I can sort of see the reasoning behind this. We don't keep shelves and shelves of special food for Connor, but we do have one shelf devoted to Gerber toddler meals — little tubs of ravioli, or trays of pre-made dinners — because, well, a lot of times we're lazy. This shelf was about half-full yesterday, and since these shelves are monstrously huge, half-full really looks like “nearly empty.” I can see how someone would see a shelf full of toddler meals and think that those meals are all Connor has, and I can see how that shelf looking kind of bare could be alarming.
In case you couldn't tell, that last sentence was mostly full of shit.
I don't see how someone could assume all of that. All right, we have toddler meals — but in case you missed it, the other shelves are full of vegetables and broth and noodles and pasta sauce and bread and rice and flour and honey and cereal. Also, you spent half the day hanging out in the vicinity of my fridge; I'm pretty sure that you saw our packed freezer and loaded fridge shelves. I have a newsflash for you: Connor? Is over the age of two. He has all of his teeth. He also has tastebuds. He doesn't always eat pre-packaged toddler meals. In fact, most days I cook family meals and he (being PART OF THE FAMILY) eats the same things that Michael and I do.
A lot of people I know here are shocked that I cook. More specifically, they're shocked that I cook for my toddler. Apparently, a child is supposed to eat nothing but Gerber-sanctioned tiny portions of very bland food and thrice-weekly Happy Meals until he or she is… I don't know… in college? Fifty? Connor doesn't roll that way. He can't. He's a big kid, and he's insanely active, and he likes strong flavors, and he likes to emulate Ma and Daddy. He needs real food, in short. He likes things highly spiced, full of texture, and in larger portions than Gerber provides. If I fed him those Gerber meals for every meal, we'd be completely broke in under a week — it takes at least two of them to get him full.
I love the Gerber toddler foods. I've extolled their virtues over at Parenting Toddlers. They're portable, handy, and kids usually do not object to them. They don't make for everyday feeding, though. They're too expensive, not filling enough, and pretty boring after about a day. We don't keep our cabinets packed full of little tubs of ravioli and bite-size servings of sweet potatoes because our cabinets are too full of, um, food. I spend time and effort and money feeding my son; it's one of our number-one activities because the kid likes to eat. (Well, and because I like to eat. There's no need for false modesty here.) My mom just dropped quite a large amount of money to bring us a supply of good food, because we were running low before payday and I'd been scrounging around for meal ideas like “a whole bunch of potatoes in the oven with, um, some parsley and also Worcestershire sauce.” (And also because my mother has been busting her ass recently to help us get and stay on her feet. She's been awesome.)
You know what, though? My mom brought all this food down when our cupboards were pretty bare, and she never once felt the need to get all judgey on us. She didn't say, “God, you're terrible parents who are starving your child.” She said, “Hey, Albertson's is having some really good sales, I'm going to pick some stuff up for you guys,” and then she did, and then she almost didn't even let me thank her — I'd go, “Thank you so much,” and she'd go, “We've all been there. I hope it helps.”
All of this is my way of explaining that I don't understand why someone who is almost a complete stranger to me felt the need to accuse of of starving my child. Our cupboards are packed. Between my mom's help and Michael's recent payday, we have a lot of food. Connor is clearly not dwindling into the ether. We are low on pre-packaged goodness, but… you know, I'm a functioning adult in my twenties; I've lived on my own for over six years, and I've had a child for two years. I think I can manage to boil some water for pasta.
And all of that was my way of saying: Fuck you, Captain McJudgypants. I'm tired of your horrified and child-free perspectives on my life.