The Appetite and The Cure

We don't watch T.V. in our house. Don't let me mislead you--we watch movies, and for our kids, Jason and I preview about 99% of the ones we let them see, or we are sitting and watching with them. Sometimes the movies are DVD versions of T.V. shows, but we know in advance what our kids are being fed.

Needless to say, though, there is no random "flipping of channels" by which our children pick up on random "stuff we don't think they need to know yet" or even random "pop culture" items...

Jude has a bottomless stomach. Literally. I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, but there have been times when he says "I'm hungry!" after eating the equivalent of his second full meal in an hour that I feel transmogrified into an exasperated and exhausted mother robin, perched on the edge of a nest with one huge, gaping mouth pointed up at me that never. gets. full. (This feeling happens a lot when Mama Robin is "under the weather" and not feeling particularly like scavenging for worms.)

However, the food dropping into his cavernous appetite does seem to magically find the river at the bottom when he is offered something he is not particularly fond of--like bananas, for example. What I mean is, we don't offer him bananas at the beginning of the meal to be mean. Bananas are like my "test food" to see how hungry he really is. (Fortunately, he hasn't figured this out, yet.) For example, after he has just eaten 3 helpings of roast chicken, potatoes, and vegetables, loaded with butter and sour cream and gravy, and he again starts squawking, "I'm hungry," I look around in frustration and say "Would you like a banana?"

"Actually, I just decided I'm full."

"Huh. Imagine that."

I knew he wasn't hungry. He just hadn't sat and thought about it, yet.

Lunch in our house today was pretty modest. I have been laid out with the stomach flu for the last three days, and this is the first day I am feeling like a human being again. Jason held the fort down just fine on the weekend, and thankfully there were some leftovers of that roast chicken and veggies that I was able to easily heat up for supper last night, but Jude also used up the bread when I had him make sandwiches for himself and his brothers for lunch yesterday. So today, a few of the standard "lunch" supplies were looking a little thin, and I settled on plain old fried eggs with a side of applesauce. The boys [Jude and Jabin, as Noah is at school today] had had a late morning snack, and I figured that this might actually be enough.

However, I was also not completely surprised when Jude wrapped up his eggs and applesauce (which, at the half-way point, he thought would fill him up) and then declared, "Actually, I'm still hungry."

I heaved an internal sigh and looked around.

"Jabin, would you like to give Jude the last few bites of your eggs?" (This is usually the easiest fix, as Jabin's appetite does not usually allow him to eat everything on his plate.)

"Nope, I want to eat them."

"Oh." I cast around for something else, not really wanting to get up from my own lunch to satisfy The Appetite at the moment. Aha! Bingo! "Would you like a banana?"

"No... But I AM still hungry!"

I sigh again, externally this time. "Just wait until I'm done my lunch, and I'll see what I can find."

A few moments later, bored with waiting, he says, "Actually, Mom, this is my Final Answer--I'm not really that hungry."

I choke on my eggs. Final Answer? I start scanning my brain on where he picked that up. Maybe Jason has said that to him? "Are you sure?" I cross-examine.

"Yep, Final Answer."

"Alrighty." He excuses himself from the table and off he goes.

A few minutes later, Jabin gets to the end of his food supplies and surprises me with a "Mom, I'm still hungry!"

"What?!" Well, he must be growing, I think. I look down at my plate--only a few bites of applesauce left and then I can pretend that I had an uninterrupted meal. "Okay, buddy, I'll get you some cheese or something in a few minutes."

"Some cheese? Okay." He starts waiting sweetly and patiently, as he is sometimes able to do, but then his Full-O-Metre must have kicked in.

"Actually, Mom, Last Answer: I'm full."

I'm really giggling now at this mimicry-of-a-mimicry.

"Final Answer?" I repeat/correct.

"Yup! Final Answer!" he exclaims. Then he starts singing his own rendition of The Muffin Man, which is a new one on me. The tune as well as the words are slightly combined with "Mary Had a Little Lamb":

"Mary knew the Muffin Man, Muffin Man, Muffin Man,
Mary knew the Muffin Man who lives on Journey Lake."

Well. All I can say is, I'm glad I was done eating, 'cause I really woulda started choking on something that time!

The funny thing is, they seem to pick up on the pop culture stuff anyway. I think it's maybe from us.

(We're just that cool.)