Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Celebrating Star Vitamins

As parents, we feel both excitement and anxiety for seeing our traits, habits, and attitudes spill generously into the hearts, hands, and minds of our children.  We hope they'll continue a tradition of spontaneous adventures but we fear they'll follow the lead of our slippery spending habits.  We're proud to boast of their charming personalities but pray they won't inherit dad's dyslexia or mom's insecurities.  We silently cringe for difficulties we've already faced or publicly exclaim, "Oh yeah! My kid is so me!"

This aspect of parenting made its noise this week.  I started coming down with a cold on Monday.  The day care pick-up conversation with Thomas went as follows:

Thomas:  "Why you come?"  [Translation: Why did you come earlier today?]

Me: "I'm not feeling very well."

Thomas: "You want my star bitamin? It will make you feel better!"

I laughed but later that evening Thomas wasn't thinking it was so funny.  At my second complaint of this progressing sickness, he actually insisted I get up and go get his star vitamin.  And so I got up, explained to him I needed to take my own vitamin, and opened the bottle with relish at his conviction.

When Thomas talks about his star vitamin, it's a testament to my husband's character.  When our new vitamins, which Paul had picked out on Amazon, arrived a few months ago, I popped open the bottle, choked down my pill which tasted like a mix of vegetables gone wrong and something something surprise from a dumpster, and I swore the suckers off, later recanting my swearing thanks to Paul's persistence to see the educated purchase through.

But one look at the star vitamin marketed for our dear child, this thing the size of a quarter and the weight of a newborn baby, and I was making all kinds of ridiculousness behind our child's back. "He won't ever eat that!"... "Did you check the size of this thing when you bought it?"... "That's seriously for a kid? He's gonna die!"  All the melodrama and more I could muster up.

Paul worked his magic to no avail for days.  Thomas, likely entertained by the parade of his inept parents, watched as Paul talked up the vitamin, putting Thomas through a psychological battery the likes only capable by our nation's bravest therapists.  Paul never gave up, despite my laughing, scoffing, and general smug attitude of dude-you've-met-your-match, and made his breakthrough a couple weeks later when, of all things, Thomas was sold on the idea of the star vitamin being broken up into several pieces as decoration for his toast.

And to my lingering amazement, Thomas now asks for his "star bitamin" to eat whole and on most days begs to eat two of which we have to pleasantly decline.  And yes, I'm sure God is laughing at me, the doubter, each time I have to tell Thomas, "No. It's only good for you to eat one star vitamin a day. You can have another one tomorrow" and his reply of a drawn-out "Ooooo-kaaay, Mom."

Stars are often symbols of the bright and beautiful.  The star vitamins in our life bears with it my husband: his seeking out of what is best for his family, his need to know and research, and his ability to sell anything to anyone. But it was today's conversation with Thomas that brought the star vitamin's symbolism, of Paul bearing good fruit in his family's life, even closer to home.

Once again, post day care pick-up:

Thomas: "You still sick?"

Me: "Yes, I'm definitely still sick."

T: "Maybe... maybe... maybe your bitamins not work.  Maybe your bitamins .... your bitamins are no good."

M: "Um. Ha. Yeah. Maybe."

T: "You take daddy's vitamin when we get home.  You throw your vitamins in the trash. They're garbage.  Daddy's vitamins will make you feel better, Mommy."

Paul is in Wisconsin today.  If he was here while I'm sick, he would know to watch for me because I don't have the best history of taking care of myself when I'm down and out.  He would insist I drink water, rest, eat healthy, take a bath... and so on until he was completely satisfied and convinced that I was in a best odds situation for a quick and happy, relatively, recovery.  Thomas has definitively picked this care of others up from his father and along with it this wonderful attitude that there's always something to be done to make our situation better.  [Paul's still working to make a believer out of me.]

I'm so grateful to count my blessings at the end of the day for the good which has been fostered.  On another day, I'll sort through all those fears for tricky traits and habits needing broken.

Today is a day to celebrate star vitamins!

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