Green with envy
Author: Mimi Burleson

I’m not a jealous parent. Well, not really. Your child can read? No problem, mine will read soon. Your child can ride a bike without training wheels? Well, my son would rather skateboard. Your child likes vegetables? Well…wait. What did you just say? Your kid will eat vegetables, and he likes them?

Ah, the jealousy sets in. It consumes me. My body threatens to explode with envy as I envision a fridge full of green leafy goodness. I dream of perusing every inch of the produce section and then standing in the check-out line, all the moms behind me doing a double-take at the heaps of healthiness in my cart.

Then I wake up and reality hits me: my son will not eat anything green. If it grew on a plant or in the ground and has any sort of nutritional value, he refuses to touch it. There’s kicking and screaming and trails of tears, and at some point, I throw my hands in the air and give up. My green dream is quickly replaced with the sound of elevator music in the frozen food section at H-E-B. Fish sticks, chicken nuggets and pancakes on a stick. All yellow. No green.

At one point, I thought there was hope. We were sitting around the dinner table and as usual, I put a few green beans on my son’s plate, thinking that maybe, just maybe, this would be the night. And then something magical happened: he didn’t kick or scream. There were no tears. He sat quietly while my husband and I inched to the edge of our seats in anticipation. Finally, he opened his mouth and said simply, “No thanks, Mom. I’ll eat green beans when I’m four.”

So we waited. For six full months, we waited. We planned a big family dinner for his fourth birthday, green beans and all. This was it: the big night; the night our son would become a vegetable-loving-green-bean-eating kid. My dreams were coming true. And then we all sat down to eat and he turned to me and said, “I changed my mind. I’ll eat green beans when I’m 16.”

At least he has goals, right?

Mimi Burleson lives in Georgetown with her husband, 4-year-old-son and 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who enjoys healthy leftovers every night after dinner.

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