It started with food; my kids are picky eaters and we are constantly changing the way we ‘do’ dinner to try to unlock their magic eating powers. I tried the ‘here is an assortment of fine foods, please enjoy any/all of them!’ approach for a while and they ate peanut butter sandwiches or the closest thing to that on the table, so now I am trying the ‘eat a bite before you get anything else’ approach and they are eating a bite and THEN eating peanut butter sandwiches so I declare the Hunger Games OVER because peanut butter.
Wait! Except Eli. Eli refuses to eat anything but the things he wants to eat. So on butter chicken night, he ate nothing for dinner. And on omelette night, he ate apple. On the bright side, he is eating a MUCH more robust breakfast these days because by 7 am he is sta-r-fuck-ving.
I know. It doesn’t scan, but I needed to put the word fuck in there because fuck. It is hard to make your children embrace variety. They fear what they don’t know. It’s a self-preservation thing.
In some respects, it’s not so hard. Music, for example. Since they were wee/born/fetal, they have enjoyed all the music I have to offer, all the music SA has to offer, all the music off the radio, some kids’ stuff, etc. In the car I stab at the radio buttons madly to find a song I don’t hate and then I leave it there for a while. Arlo loves SONIC HITS NOW which plays, well, all the hits, and Eli likes SONIC HITS NOW too but also ROCK AND ROLL and sometimes THE CBC / THE NEWS. Sometimes I override them, because I am driving and I get to choose.
They pick their own clothes. They pick their friends. They pick their own books at the library. I don’t like all of it, and they don’t like all the things I like, but variety. I am starting to think that the key to life is variety; understanding it, embracing it. Seeing, or even better, assuming that all the people you meet have different ideas of what is THE BEST EVER and it’s okay. It’s even great! It’s okay to not love Star Wars (that’s me) or not like Joni Mitchell (both kids) or hate sauces in general (Eli) or not be fond of carrots, because it’s a big world and just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you get to tell other people to like it or not.
Sometimes social media acts like that kid who tells you what’s cool, what t-shirt you should be wearing, how you’re never going to have friends because you don’t like Lego Star Wars or you don’t like it the right way. If you only hang out there, you can forget what you actually think. Sometimes I get so wrapped up reading what other people have written on the Internet, I don’t get around to writing my own stuff.
Twitter is a wonderful thing sometimes; it is full of people who might get you, people you get. It is funny and sympathetic and sometimes exactly what you need. At the beginning, after a year of Twitter I thought it was cutting into my productivity. I was right! But the solution in these modern times is not to quit The Internet. The solution is to moderate one’s own intake. The solution is variety.
Luckily there are books and notebooks and real-life conversations with people. There is always something to clean or throw away in this house. There is always meal preparation and the fitting of my tongue with a steel sleeve so that when I have to bite it during dinnertime while the kids pick pick pick at their delicious food I don’t bleed all over my plate. There is always something else I could be doing, other than following a trail of links to the bottom of an internet pile-on. The world is big and wonderful and full of things.