We are those parents who swore up and down that we would not let a child crimp our style. Luckily our style isn’t too intense and we’ve been able to keep up with our lets-eat-out-few-times-a-week-and-veg-in-front-of-the-tv-the-other-nights routine ever since C was born. When she got to be old enough for solids we started bringing snacks for her and letting her share our dinners with us. Inevitably her favorite thing to steal off our plates quickly became french fries.
As I walked back from the Indian restaurant buffet one evening, my plate loaded with delectable, creamy food, I spotted a side buffet I had never noticed. Three plates piled high with different potatoes, just waiting for me to help myself. One of the plates held plump, crispy, wedge fries and I quickly grabbed a few to entertain C while we enjoyed our own selections. It was an exciting find; aside from the rice there wasn’t much there for C to feed herself and we were quickly running out of amusing toys.
I sat down and showed M. “Look! Indian fries!” C spotted what I was holding up and clamored for it. She must have been barely over a year old and her communication was limited to grunts and signs, still, she made herself clearly understood. I handed her the fry and watched as her eyes lit up. In retrospect the orange spice liberally sprinkled on the potato wedge should have prompted me to taste it, or at the very least smell it, before I handed it over, but she was too excited for me to delay her gratification for any mere maternal whim.
She shoved the huge fry into her gaping mouth, her three little teeth digging deep into it’s plump flesh. Her eyes filled with tears and she threw the offending tater across the table. Her cries filled the restaurant as her fingers rushed back to her mouth to try to claw the remains off of her tongue. M picked up another fry and bit into it, as I grabbed C out of her high-chair and tried desperately to get her to drink some milk. His eyes filled with tears, he coughed and I realized belatedly that maybe, just maybe, Indian fries weren’t the ideal toddler fare.
“Wow. That was spicy!” M coughed out, chugging some water, as poor C continued to sob on my lap. It took weeks for her to trust my restaurant hand-outs again. As for me? I’ve tasted everything she’s eaten at restaurants ever since.