Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | February 16, 2009

Family Fun

I recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time (defined as a clearly delineated period) with my sister and her family, which consists of a husband and a brilliant 5-year-old daughter with spherocytosis and lifelong eating issues (ie, beyond the usual pre-school reluctance to try new foods and a devotion to ritual that would put an ancient Roman high priestess to shame.)

In the course of the visit, my brother-in-law mentioned that he had recently been diagnosed with lichen planus, an intensely pruritic skin condition. As I considered the diagnosis, I realized that no one should have been surprised, as he and my sister just happen to be in their seventh year of marriage.

This particular visit included a shared meal, during which there were two episodes of note.

The first was when my niece declared, after having eaten three grains of rice, that she was done and wanted a piece of candy for dessert. I did a double take upon hearing her mother say, “Don’t you want some real food, like a hot dog or some chicken nuggets?” That time, I was able to limit myself to an appreciatively ironic chuckle.

The next time, though, I was rendered helpless with choking laughter:

I cut off a tiny piece of my tofu and passed it over to my niece, suggesting that she try it. Obviously reluctant, but obeying the clear (though non-verbal) direction of her parents, she warily put it into her mouth. Her face immediately contorted into a crystal clear mask of intense distaste, however she also clearly knew better than to spit it out. Swallowing was an act of supreme will that she accomplished in due course. I saw her preparing to say that she didn’t like it, but my sister quickly intervened.

“What do we say [at times like this]?” she prompted.

Face still screwed up from the agony of the experience, the little girl nevertheless managed to correctly display her home training.

“Interesting.”

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