Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eating Healthy Food While Avoiding Botulism

Ok, so this is a short—yet funny story that sort of covers what happens when two totally different intents and purposes collide.

On the one hand, we have Jason, my wonderful husband who would do anything in the world to help me. And he did. And does. Just the other day, he stopped at the store and begged free lettuce from the deli counter for our bunny. Not that we don’t want to pay for lettuce, but you know, if there’s perfectly good bunny lettuce just sitting there waiting to be thrown out, then we will happily take it off their hands. So he brought two bountiful and recently expired bags of lettuce home and stashed them in the fridge for Hoppers, who is a huge fan of lettuce. Happy day for everyone involved.

But wait. Then along comes Micaela, who is on a health kick because her coach told her that she should avoid sugar and should count calories and should become the Ghandi of the health aisle at the grocery store. And, being an adolescent girl who is concerned about her appearance, she took her coach’s advice to heart and began her healthy eating regimen. On the same day (the. same. day.) that Jason brought home the wilty, slightly slimy, but perfectly-fine-for-a-bunny lettuce.

You can probably see where this is going. Micaela came home after practice, and it was late in the evening, so Mommy was already on her quest for the perfect evening slumber. Which left Jason in charge. And I’m pretty sure he was otherwise occupied (facebook, anyone?) when Micaela proceeded to made a huge-mongous salad from the ever-so-healthy lettuce she found in the fridge. She must have thought the health market fairy had stopped by our house to drop off such a delicacy. (We normally don’t buy the pre-cut, fancy lettuce, but instead opt for the pedestrian kind that you have to chop up yourself. I know. Almost as bad as buying day-old doughnuts, right?)

So she reveled in her salad, and if I know my daughter at all, I’m pretty sure she licked the bowl clean and then had seconds. So, long story short, a LOT of lettuce was consumed.

Fast forward to the breakfast table the next morning. Micaela skips in, and over a glass of skim milk, which her coach (whom I’ll now refer to as Satan) told her she must drink to be healthy, proceeds to describe in detail the delicious nature of the salad she enjoyed the night before. (I’m tellin’ you, this girl was happy about lettuce. That should say a lot regarding the amount of fresh vegetables we usually keep in the house.)

About halfway through her description, Jason piped up and began with something sort of like, “About that lettuce…” and ended with something like “Owwww!” when I kicked him under the table. Clearly, we don’t need to tell the kid she ate slimy, re-purposed lettuce. I mean, ok, if she becomes gravely ill with a serious case of botulism or some other equally disturbing malady, then we might let her know, but otherwise, let’s just keep in on the down-low.

When Jason began to tell her about the origins of the lettuce she had eaten, all I could envision was a drama similar to the scale of what happened at the bombing of Pearl Harbor unfolding right in our dining room. She would certainly come down with a concocted illness, a mystery stomach ache, and 12 more reasons why she should not go to school that day…because, “what would happen if she got food poisioning at school and suffered senselessly before succumbing to a painful and untimely death!!” Yep, no way was I having that conversation, and no way was I going to let her find out about the lettuce.

So the lettuce will remain a secret. A dirty little secret Jason and I will take with us to our graves. Ok, probably not. Instead we’ll probably wait a reasonable amount of time and then torture her with the knowledge that she ate slimy lettuce, because we are awesome parents like that, and it would be pretty darn funny to see her reaction. But later. Much, much later.

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