My son, Finneas, is recovering from a long virus -- having missed 5 weeks of school.
Since traditional medicine was just kind of shrugging at us, we decided to take him to a guru/acupuncturist/herbalist/specialist in Chinese medicine in town -- someone who usually takes months to get in to see. (I did the hysterical high-pitched mother thing and got booked in a week.)
The doctor asked a lot of questions, even about his time in utero. She taped tiny beans in the dip of one ear to help with nausea. She gave us a few teas and something to spray under his tongue for the aches. (The spray was made in Oregon, which I was thankful for.)
And finally she asked the real question. "Does he eat vegetables?"
"He eats lettuce and green apples," my husband said.
"And ketchup!" my son added, having counted it ever since he heard of the Reagan pronouncement of the ketchup vegetable from my youth.
The doctor said, "He must eat three vegetables -- steamed -- every day."
Of course, this was the wisdom we'd been seeking. Of course it also sounded pretty familiar.
My 90-year-old Southern grandmother has been telling us this for years. My mother has been trying to bribe Finn to eat vegetable since he was little. (He once gagged on mashed potatoes that she'd offered him a dollar to swallow. Guilt-ridden for the gagging, she paid him off anyway.)
We wrote a monstrous check and sadly escorted our pathetic selves home.
Finn has since gagged on carrots. He's learned to withstand broccoli. He drinks Fruit Fusion with vegetables in it. He's sticking with his apples and occasional lettuce. Tonight, he will move onto asparagus.
But as a mother in the new millenium, I just figured I'd be saying something different than: Go eat your vegetables.