When we sat down with the Oddnivore’s new daycare provider last Friday and started listing the Oddnivore’s allergies–
peanuts…and that one’s serious…we’ve got an Epipen…oh and there’s dairy…and wheat…and eggs…
—she stared back at us in a bit of stunned silence.
“So he won’t be getting the hot lunch, then?”
Oh no. No no no no no. We’ll make his lunch. We always make his lunch.
We never go out to eat as a family. Besides the fact that doing so is generally outside of the ol’ Oddnivore Family budget; and besides the fact that it’s WAY more work than fun to dine publicly, since we have to keep the Oddnivore from hopping up from his chair to run around and around the table as needed mid-meal; I’ve pre-decided that most food establishments aren’t ready for the likes of the Oddnivore. Even if a restaurant is able and willing to accommodate the Oddnivore’s needs to the nth degree, it’s the flabbergasted look that takes over the server’s face when we order that grates my nerves into a tidy pile of vegan-or-otherwise cheese.
I don’t want to believe that my son deserves such stupefied silence.
I don’t want to accept that the food culture of our immediate world is so incongruous with who the Oddnivore is. Who I am, now, by extension, he a part of every gesture of my spatial, emotional, theoretical self.
So I admit the bristling tingle running up and down my spine in the restaurant, in the daycare, in most every public space where I am compelled for whatever reason to explain the nuances of the Oddnivore’s diet, comes as much for me as much as it does my son.
I don’t consider this an admission of inner weakness, of self-centeredness. Instead, it reminds me that, despite the unique nature of the Oddnivore’s circumstance, we remain completely typical: who the child is reflects on the parent.
And back the other way, too.
No mother enjoys that moment when she realizes the world may be an ill fit for her child. Perhaps I write to make a new space for him. And perhaps I write to demonstrate that I am not an ill fit for him, either.