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A Bridge Too Far

If you were reading this blog back when Simon was 2 or 3, you know that his toddler days were made more difficult by his poor adaptability and initial withdrawal. Which is fancy speak for Simon taking a while to warm up and not handling change very well, traits he gets honest from his parents. Simon had a hard time finding his place in a toddler scrum; in fact, he usually chose “outside looking in” as his place. As for change, well, there’s a reason he didn’t potty train until he was three and a half, and it wasn’t all physiological.

Flash forward to today, and these traits are still present, but have been very much diluted. His warm-up period with Alise, Thomas, Theo, Thaylo, Kalyna, Amber (Lei-Lei) and Allison (Sha-Sha) was about two minutes. The first time Thomas, who’s older, got a bit rambunctious, Simon joined in and even egged him on. So initial withdrawal? Manageable.

And poor adaptability? Ditto. Simon was nervous on the first takeoff, until I described what was happening and pantomimed what the rest of the trip would feel like. The next leg and entire return flight was a snap. His bedtime routine was completely upended. He went down in a different bed that was too small to accommodate me (we usually lie together for about five minutes), he had no music or noise machine to keep him company, the room didn’t get as dark as his own, and he had a three-hour time change to adjust to. Sleep champ that he is, Simon went down at his adjusted bed-time, liked having a cozy new bed, didn’t miss his music, and let me kiss him on the cheek and walk out of the room. He continued to sleep well all week.

He even ate some new food. I’m afraid I have a horribly picky eater on my hands, and I was worried that even small changes like a new brand of cracker or type of yogurt might give Simon pause. Instead, he did fine. He even did fine when friend Katherine made cheese sandwiches for all the kids using—get this—olive tapenade between layers of cheese. Simon took a bite, made a funny face, and looked over at me.

“Mommy, this tastes kind of funny.”

[Uttered with false brightness]“Does it? Well, Ms. Katherine used a special cheese. But it’s totally yummy, right?”

[Meekly, after seeing Thomas gobble up his.] “Yea, Mommy, I guess so.”

We repeated the exchange with a rather tart kiwi, which Simon also ended up eating.

But even an exuberant four-year-old with newfound reserves of flexibility has his limits. For Simon, that limit was nori seaweed. Some of Thomas and Theo’s friends eat sheets of the stuff for snacks, and now the boys do, too. One of them asked for some, and when Katherine handed over the greenish-black sheets to Thomas and Theo, Simon looked on with ever widening eyes. Then he looked my way, anticipating my suggesting that this, too, might be something fun to try. With a plainly worried look on his face, Simon fixed me with a serious stare and said:

“That looks like a good snack for Thomas and Theo. But not for me.”

I laughed out loud. Then found him another snack. Outside Japan or the Bay Area, I’m guessing that sheets of nori would be a bridge too far for most kids.

One Response to “A Bridge Too Far”

  1. blg says:

    Good for him. Based on this post, you may have to revise the picture you have of Simon as a picky eater. That may not be an accurate characterization any longer?

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