June 2012

I love Doritos.  I served them at my wedding.  And received them as wedding gifts.  And my birth plan involved eating an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos while sitting in a tub.  In fact, while I call my daughter “Jr. Associate” throughout the bjournal, her real name is D’Rita Ellen (the boy’s name we had picked out was LL Cool Ranch).  If I had to give up all junk food save one item, I would choose Doritos.

But like all good things, I try not to buy Doritos because I will eat a bag in a 24-hour period and I don’t feel the need to share.  The first few chips are the most delicious, crisp chips to ever eat.  I don’t have that part of the body that says “stop eating this!” when it comes to Doritos.  I’ll eat half a bag while leaning against the kitchen counter, and then I feel ashamed and lash out at others while covered in orange powder.

I had unfinished bags of Cool Ranch & Nacho Cheese leftover from a party this past weekend, and I had finished them both by Tuesday evening (if I didn’t have to work they would have been finished by 9 a.m. Monday).  On both Monday and Tuesday I went straight to the chips after work, and since I have a child, I had to share (ugh) because she has learned to say “chip, please,” and even I can’t refuse that.  I dug through the bag to find her a broken chip — because whole ones are unsafe? — all the while eating probably a serving of whole chips, and when I handed her a chip she thanked me (well, she actually thanked her babysitter, whose name she’s says after every “thank you”).  She squealed with delight after each chip, and basically reenacted the warehouse scene from “Footloose” which caused her to get an orange film on everything.

By the time I was ready to pack up the bag she had orange face and fussed when I cut her off, and I felt guilty that I was getting her to love junk food.  It is totally within my power to keep her from eating chips, but I let her because it’s something I do.  And it’s not one of those things that I can say “as kids we ate junk food all the time and we’re okay,” because we’re not — we’re fat and sick and can’t handle the concept of portion control. Because I can’t give up bad habits I’m passing them on to my child.

So, parent lesson #212 – eat chips alone, preferably after everyone is asleep.

Nevermind that I also will eat a cantaloupe with the same zeal, and if I learned anything from being pregnant it’s that cantaloupe has the same nutrients as a leafy green vegetable.  I also feel like I should add a disclaimer that I feed my child well-rounded meals in addition to pumping her with Doritos.  Obviously I do, otherwise I wouldn’t care that she eats chips.


We have a plane trip planned for the fall, and since it’s too early to buy tickets or pack, I have instead started to create responses to irate passengers’ possible comments like “control you kid” and “you shouldn’t fly with babies” (inspired by the comments in a New York Time’s article about air travel with family).  While we are good with timing outings to minimize meltdowns (new favorite word) we won’t have as much control during flights.  Of course we will come prepared with snacks and diversions, but if she’s awake she will not happily sit down for four hours.

Here are my comebacks to variations of “learn how to control your kid”:

  • “Here are two more kids I can’t control — Lefty and Righty,” and I lift up my fists.  Or just one more kid and one fist if I am  handling a crying baby with the other arm.  Also, depending on the situation I might pop up the baby’s dukes.
  • “She’s not my kid.  She was on the seat when I got here.”  Cue laughter, the melting of hearts, and the clunking of plastic airplane cups being raised in a cheer.
  • Deliver a monologue like, “I’m doing the best that I can as a woman in a society that wants to run the reproductive system like it’s a prison, then offers no support to parents once their children are born, and continually fails the children in their education, then leaves an unhealthy planet and faulty, debt-soaked government as inheritance.  The least you can do is have patience for this girl whose future you’ve already ruined.”  Hopefully by the time I’m done the plane will have landed.
  • Or say “WHAT?  I can’t hear you — my baby is too loud.”

I’ve also read that lollipops, phone apps, and Play-doh helps, too.

For those of you who don’t live here, Richmond’s food scene is very important to us.*   New restaurants and food trends get a lot of attention, and it seems the newer the restaurant the more locally sourced the menu, to the point that I’m sure in the next six months, let’s say a doula and her artist husband will open a place that uses herbs grown in coffee mugs on the tables and serves all but the fur of a goat that was water-birthed in the kitchen sink (this just in – it’s closed).

When I heard about Burger Bach I was amused how non-local its mission is.  Burger Bach serves beef that is shipped in from New Zealand and I think the fries are cut from potatoes grown at the foot of the Alps.  You could say that the traveling fees are incorporated into the price ($10 for  the cheapest burger, wha?) but it’s worth it.  We have only been once but I really liked it.  I ordered my burger with American cheese, and I felt really self conscious about that (I will stand up for American cheese, though, because it melts really well and it’s AMERICAN).  The cheese, mustard, and ketchup combination reminded me of the burgers of my youth, like McDonalds and Fuddruckers, that I know now aren’t good.  It was basically the delicious version of those.  I liked the fries and dipping sauces, the burgers come with salad (yay), and the atmosphere works well for parents with a mostly well-behaved toddler (meaning it’s loud enough that people probably don’t notice her and the booth is big enough for her to move around).

I haven’t had my previous favorite burger (Dot’s Back Inn) in years (though the Meat on the Street burger was pretty fantastic, but my associate recreates that at home).  There are so many new places to try that I get anxious that I need to try them all and that keeps me from previously enjoyed meals.  We also have a short window of time for fuss-free meals with our Jr. Associate, which means that eating out isn’t the leisurely activity it used to be.  Although there is a glut of new places to visit, it’s easier to start sticking to the places we already know that are kid-friendly but also good.  I can see now why parents resort to fast food places with Playlands. (Please ask me about “Kid Pit,” which I’m trying to bring into public spaces to make eating out better for everyone)(it’s basically a padded pit for corralling babies and there’s a prototype for a portable, fence version in the works.  I’ll send my Kickstarter link soon).

More important to me than burgers, Dixie Chicken opened up nearby and makes really good fried chicken for take out.  Even the kid eats it, which is sad because I don’t want to share but I guess good because I don’t have to cook anything else for her.

Food pouches have been great for eating out, but I’m sure they’re probably terrible

*Although I enjoy eating out and reading about restaurants, I’m not sure why we should be as informed as we are about food trucks.

Since our child has been out of work for 19 months we’re trying to beef up her resume with new skill sets.  We’ve been pushing the ABCs and 123s.  There has been lots of reading and counting, animal and vehicle identification, and working with Microsoft Office.  She is a talkative little girl — complete with charming phrases like “go away!” — and it’s been fun and fascinating to watch her learn things.

Favorite things she’s been taught by her dad: to reply in a “metal” voice when he uses his metal voice (a lot of metal music is played at our house); and to say “hi-ya” and kick when the narrator says “I learned to kick from my friend the gorilla” in the book “My Friends.” From me she has learned to yell at the pets.  It really does take a village to raise a child.

She will probably be upset when she learns that gorillas might not kick.  Also, she appears to not like Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz from Dr. Seuss’s ABCs.  I understand and respect this.