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Published on October 13th, 2013 | by Richard Black

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My Daughter and Her Relation to Photosynthesis

At some point in her past my three year old daughter Darcy decided that she didn’t require any nutrition in the conventional sense. She eats the occasional piece of cheese every few days and sometimes a bit of toast, maybe a strawberry or two and a glass of milk but that’s about it.

Her pediatrician assures me that she’s fine, and I’m sure she is, most of the time. Darcy continues to put on weight and whenever I have to pick her up and haul her around it feels like I’ve got an 80 pound sack of concrete in my arms instead of a three year old.

When she came of the tit and the bottle Darcy used to eat anything, unmentionable things like strained prunes and carrots. I drew the line at pureed meat products as any sort of meat in a can or jar is unilaterally revolting. The UN should place jarred chicken with landmines and depleted uranium rounds as crimes against humanity. Off brand canned dog food smells better than some of the things I’ve opened in the guise of baby food.

And maybe that’s the problem. By giving Darcy food to eat that wasn’t stomach wrenching I set the bar too high. There was a point last year when she was in school and would only eat brie, a few slices of a baguette and raspberries. Those were the good old days. Was I a bit embarrassed to send my daughter to school with the same sort of lunch that Martha Stewart may eat on any given day? Certainly.

But I would be lying if I didn’t take a certain misguided pleasure in the idea that my daughter might have sophisticated tastes, at least where food was concerned.

As a child I hailed from a small town in Indiana in the 80’s. Cheese was hard and orange and the most exotic thing that crossed the dining room table was a taco. My brothers and sister and I cleaned our plates for every meal or had the pleasure of seeing the leftovers again and again and again until they were gone or we contracted ptomaine poisoning.

It’s so sad that so few of us are left these days.

Despite my upbringing I decided to give Darcy a bit more lenience in what she eats which turned out to be a massive mistake. These days Darcy eats almost nothing, at least nothing that I would consider to be food. She’ll put anything in her mouth for which troops of adolescent boys will most certainly appreciate in her future. Magnets, arms from dismembered plastic dolls, an ancient and the occasional bit of shriveled something she found on the kitchen floor and pronounced “delicious”. All of them go in her mouth to be savored like a fine cheese.

But nothing else will cross her lips that even resembles food in the conventional sense. She wont even eat French fries.

“It’s s not good for my tummy,” she tells me when I present her with anything other than a piece of toast.

“Neither is anorexia,” I answer.

“That isn’t good for my tummy either,” she says.

What can I say? Arguing with a three year old is like trying to put a pair of tights on a feral cat.

Until my daughter eats regular meals I can only assume that she’s subsisting on sunlight, water, and whatever she can scrounge out of the couch.

As a stay at home father I decided some time ago that I’d be damned if I ever cook more than two meals for dinner, maybe three (my wife is also a fickle eater).

Call me a hardass but that’s just the way I was raised.


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