Friday, January 15, 2010

why I don't eat cooked carrots

Based on some recent conversations with a good friend and some past conversations with dear old Dad, as well as a story that Mom LOVES to tell, especially when I bring friends or significant others's a story from my relatively normal childhood (I swear, there will be a point to this. Don't I always make a point at the end?)

When I was about four, my family was preparing for a post-dinner shopping outing. Now, I want to assume this was Christmastime, but I'd have to check my facts with Mom to be sure, as I was only four and my memory is a little fuzzy and tainted with Mom's retellings. I was told that I had to finish my vegetables--let's go ahead and assume these were cooked carrots, which to this day I do not like--before we left.

Like the compliant daughter I was and mostly still am, I finished those veggies. The shopping trip commenced as planned, with my then two-year-old brother in tow. I'm sure they had their hands full with him and weren't paying super-close attention to me. He was, after all, a pretty headstrong and busy kid, at least from a big sister's point of view.

Fast forward about two or three hours. We're home, and Mom's suspicious. I haven't said a word since dinner, which (for those of you who know me in real life) is significantly uncharacteristic. Using her Mom-ly intuition, she realizes what has taken place. I am instructed to open my mouth, where--you guessed it--I still had the veggies. Something about the vitamins having been sucked out preceded permission to spit the contents of my mouth into the trash.

And I spit them out triumphantly. I had successfully avoided the eating of my vegetables, with all the lack of forethought a four-year-old can muster. I'm sure it must have occurred to me that spitting them out earlier or--gasp--swallowing them might have been possible alternatives, but suffice it to say my reasoning skills at age four, though clearly highly developed, were not quite what they are now.

So what's the point? My point is really that as an adult, I'm learning to like this quiet iron will of mine. It takes some practice to get it right and I've nowhere near figured it out, but the more times I see what happens when I put my mind to something, the more encouraged I am. I've held my fair share of proverbial vegetables in my mouth plenty of times when there probably was a viable alternative, and figured out a lot in the process. I don't think I learned conventional limits. No one really told me not to aim high, and the people that did...well, their loss. When I take on new projects or skills or hobbies or jobs or endeavors or a myriad of other things that I don't have extra time for, it rarely crosses my mind that I shouldn't try so hard.

May your life lessons not involve soggy, lukewarm carrots--unless that's what you like. Then good on ya, and you can have mine while you're at it!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm happy to have had the pleasure of hearing this story first-hand. I think it's pretty great that when you were displaying feats of iron will when you were a little kid, I was just peeing in people's shoes.

  3. Hmmm, I avoid them because they made me sick my first day of pre-school and I have never gotten over it.

    I like your reason better.