Monday, April 7, 2008

The Healthy Snack Cafe

If 'necessity' is the mother of invention, I'd be willing to bet that 'utter frustration' is the father. Allow me to illustrate :

Act 1: The Status Quo
MOM is surrounded by seemingly endless health claims when child enters.

CHILD: Mommy?
MOM: (still studying her Excel spreadsheet) Yes?
CHILD: I'm hungry.
MOM: (stalling against the inevitable) You are?
CHILD: Can I have a snack?
MOM: (standing up) Sure. What would you like? An apple? Some cheese?"
CHILD: I don't like cheese.
MOM: Since when?
CHILD: Since always.
MOM: Well, how about an apple?
CHILD: I don't want an apple.
MOM: Then what do you want?
CHILD: Crackers.
MOM: Alright, crackers it is.

Five minutes pass. MOM goes back to her spreadsheet.

CHILD: I'm still hungry. Can I have some popcorn?
MOM: (resisting the temptation to offer cheese again) You need to choose either a fruit or a vegetable.
CHILD: Corn's a vegetable.
MOM: Actually, it's a grain. How 'bout a carrot?

At this point CHILD walks to the refrigerator, opens it and stares blankly for a few minutes. MOM cringes as bottles in the door start to bead with condensation.

MOM: Please close the refrigerator.
CHILD: But I'm looking.
MOM: Yes, but I'm getting goose bumps.
CHILD: Fine.

CHILD reaches in, snatches something, then closes the fridge quickly, keeping her back to MOM.

MOM: What did you choose?

CHILD reluctantly turns around to display her selection: chocolate pudding.

MOM: Pudding is not a healthy snack; it's a dessert. Put it back, please.

CHILD returns the pudding to the fridge, slams the door shut, then slumps into a kitchen chair.

CHILD: There's nothing to eat.
MOM: How about that apple?
CHILD: (pause) Alright... Can you slice it?
MOM: Please?
CHILD: (sigh) Please.
MOM: You got it.

Sound familiar? Here's my latest solution:

Act 2: The Healthy Snack Cafe Opens for Business
MOM is filing rejected health claims when CHILD enters.

CHILD: I'm hungry.
MOM: Let's see if the Healthy Snack Cafe is open.
CHILD: Oh yeah!

CHILD runs ahead to the kitchen where she studies the Cafe menu*. Said menu is divided into three parts: Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, and Proteins. A 'healthy snack' includes something from each.**
*The management cannot guarantee all items will be in stock at all times.
**Any customer with poor manners will be refused.

MOM: So, what will it be?
CHILD: Crackers with hummus and a plum, please.

MOM and CHILD go on to make the snack together in peace.

So far, it's working.

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