It's Sunday morning, and I am making a bowl of oatmeal for Max—Cinnamon Spice, an organic instant variety we get at Trader Joe's. Max can down two packets in one sitting. He eats it year round, every morning, although on occasion he breaks out and has scrambled eggs. Sabrina is a sunny-side-up, yogurt or turkey bacon kid.
I pour the packets into a bowl and add hot water. Then I grab a few ingredients from the fridge. First up, a teaspoon of Omega 3•6•9 Junior by Nordic Naturals. It's got a lemon flavor and its oily, but blended into the oatmeal, the taste is imperceptible. After Max was born, another mom of a baby who had a stroke told me to feed Max Omega-3 fish oil; the fatty acids it contains can boost brain development. It fell into the school of "Couldn't hurt, might help" so we double-checked with the neurologist and went for it. When Max was a baby we used Coromega, this mousse-like substance with Omega-3s. Next, I add a teaspoon of flax seed, which also contains Omega-3s. Then I sprinkle in wheat germ, rich in Vitamins E and B and Other Good Stuff. Last, I mash in a banana, full of potassium.
Every single time I prepare Max's uber-healthy oatmeal, I think of my dad. When I was a kid, he was into nutrition, way before other parents were. He used to make us home-cooked oatmeal on weekend mornings that included wheat germ and bran. I thought it was the most foul concoction ever and called it "Yuckle."
"We're not going to the park till you finish your oatmeal," my dad would say. Sometimes, when he wasn't looking, I would dash to my bedroom where a big hulk of a floor-to-ceiling wooden cabinet stood and drop the stuff into the crack between wall and cabinet. When we were cleaning out my dad's place this spring, I half expected to see hardened glop there, but it was mysteriously gone.
My father was determined to fill my body with healthy stuff, same as I'm doing for Max. Only the stakes are higher. Max has brain damage—a fair amount of it, because he had a bilateral stroke. When I watch him eat his bowl of oatmeal, I am seriously hoping those nutrients make their way to his head and work some magic on his brain. The oatmeal isn't just good nutrition; it's medicinal.
My version of yuckle (although Max has yet to resist it) is also a tribute to my dad. He is surely smiling down at me as I make it for Max...and wondering why I'm not having any.
What sort of good-for-you foods do you feed your kids?
Photo/Carly & Art