Friday, December 10, 2010

The Battle of the Food Face

“But solid food is for the mature…”

Shirin sat across from her little brother Frederick at the dinning room table waiting for her lunch.  Watching her mom get it ready she tried to imagine what it might look like today.  Arranged in a shape?  Maybe a star or a sun!  “Maybe de food will be a car Frederick!” Shirin knew that her little one and a half year old brother loved her Little People cars.  His first birthday was the theme “anything with wheels.”
Clueless, Frederick started his latest little chant.  “Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa.  Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa.  Ba, ba, baaaaaa.”  Repeating it over and over again.  Shirin joined in and she could see his face light up and continue with even more conviction.
“Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa.!  Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa!  Ba, ba, baaaaaa!”  Bringing the lunch plates over Shirin’s mom joined the fun.  “Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa!  Ba, ba, baaaaaaaa!  Ba, ba, baaaaaa!”  All together and right in beat they got louder and louder until Shirin’s mom set the plates down in front of them.
“A face!”  Shirin screeched.  Cottage cheese as hair, olives for eyes, a cheerio nose with one lunch meat shaped as a smiling mouth!
Shirin’s mom handed her a fork.  “You are 3 Shirin, you have to use this to eat your cottage cheese!”  The excitement from just a moment before dwindled as Shirin contemplated having to use a fork!  There is nothing better then letting her mushy food squish between her fingers, scooping it up into her mouth and feeling it all over her face.  It was exhilarating.
After giving her fork a solid stare down, she looked over at her brother who had already gobbled up 3 bites with his car spoon.  How could he have better coordination then she could ever muster up? Shirin studied his perfect technique.  Such control!  When a dot of cottage cheese got on his finger he quickly lifted his hand for her mom to wipe it off. “Augh, augh!”  Acting as if his finger was scarred for life, he was not able to continue eating until it was clean.  His anguish puzzled her.  Looking again at her own food face, its lunch meat lips seemed to talk to her... eat me!  Shirin decided to stall.  After all, she could use her hands with everything else.  So there! She thought with a final glare at the fork.
“Mom, I ate his eyes… look, he can’t see!  Now no nose.  Bye bye mouth!  He can’t say bye! ‘Mmmmm Mmmmm.’  Look mom, no mouth.  Bye bye hair!”
“That’s nice honey” Shirin’s mom said from over her shoulder as she cleaned up the counters in the kitchen.  Caught up in disassembling her food face she completely forgot about the fork.  Scooping up the cottage cheese Shirin let it settle in all the curves of her hands.  A tight fist let the cottage cheese seep out of any little crevice.
“The hair is falling!”  After the death squeeze Shirin licked up what was left in the palm of her hand.  Leaning down like a puppy, she sucked more right off her plate.  Cottage Cheese finger painting was added to her slurping as her clean, untouched fork lay next to her plate.
“Shirin!”  Her mom said sharply.  Shirin jerked her head up making cottage cheese fly everywhere.  “What are you doing?  I told you to use your fork!”  Oh no, she had forgotten about the fork.  Her mom hurried to her with a wet cloth wiping up cottage cheese from all over the table, Shirin’s face, nose and even chunks in her hair.  “Oh man Shirin, you are a mess!  You’re getting too big for this!”  Her mom was clearly agitated; her regularly gentle hands wiped Shirin’s face with an unusual intensity.  After she was all clean Shirin’s mom looked directly into her eyes, handed her the fork and calmly said, “Eat what is left on your plate with this.”
Shirin gazed, as if it were the most foreign object ever placed in her hands. She remembered trying to use this fork so many times before.  Most recently at her sweetheart birthday party last week.  Her Grandma Gwen had baked heart shaped mini cakes for the kids to decorate.  Shirin’s master piece had frosting, sprinkles and heart shaped candy on top.  The pink fork seemed flawed so using her hands to digest her marvelous work of art was inevitable.
Why did her mom insist on training her in this method of eating? She tried to scoop up the cottage cheese but it fell right off the fork.  Out of frustration Shirin lashed out, “I can’t do it! It falls off!” 
But her mom would not let her off the hook.  “Take a breath.  Don’t give up.” The fork was replaced in Shirin’s hand again and again until she managed to balance it.  So much effort just to get one little nibble in her mouth!  It went faster and was more enjoyable to use her hands.  Every single failed attempt tensed Shirin’s body until at last she was shaking her fists at her inability to keep anything on the top of that fork.  Frederick was done and off in the next room playing with HER little people, how fair was that?  Finally after what seemed like an eternity of fork scooping, cottage cheese dropping and grouchy grumbling the last bit of cottage cheese made it into her mouth.  “Good job honey!  I knew you could do it!”  Her mom said after the last bite.  Sliding off her chair, Shirin could sense a slight feeling of accomplishment, but still could not see anything “good” about the fork.  With a mad dash toward her toys, Shirin could not get away from the table fast enough!

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Hebrews 5:14

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