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5:03 a.m. - 2003-03-11

EAT THAT WELSH RAREBIT, BOY!

I am the father of a picky eater.

Some people will look at you in horror when you say such a thing, as if my son is a diseased mutant.

"OHMIGOD!" they will exclaim. "How do you live with that??"

Uhhhh...I pop four frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for a minute, let them cool off for a few minutes and then give them to him??

"OHMIGOD!!!" they will then exclaim. "But don't you know what that's doing to your child??"

Uhhhhhh...I'm not sure of the exact terminology ... but isn't it "nourishing him"??

Susie is hellbent on not having a picky eater for a child. She was a picky eater as a child and so was her brother.

The one that slurps all our soft drinks down when he comes over, borrows thousands of dollars and then pretends like he never borrowed money.

So maybe being a picky eater IS a bad thing if that's what you eventually turn into.

Andrew loves chicken nuggets. I take that back. He likes them. He will tolerate them. He will at least eat them.

He likes Pop Tarts and pretzels. Potato chips and dip. Popcorn, pizza, french fries and the occasional hamburger. Fish sticks every now and then. A grilled cheese sandwich. Bacon, those crazy waffle sticks and gummi worms.

And that's about it.

I've tried everything else. Well...not everything. When I cook, I tend to spice things up a bit and I don't want to give the kid ulcers at 2. But anything that doesn't have a kick to it, I try to give him.

He turns his nose up at it.

Last night was a prime example.

I gave him some long thin slices of my grilled chicken breast, some pasta salad and some sweet potato fries.

Guess what he ate out of that?

Duh.

And because they were actually sweet potatoes and not regular fries, he only ate a few.

So I gave him a Fruit and Oatmeal breakfast bar.

He inhaled that.

My wife (and undoubtedly many of you) thought that was the worst thing in the world. I may as well have been whipping him with a belt for learning how to say "Dog" or something.

"Why did you do that?" she asked me sternly.

"The kid needs to eat," I said. "I'm not going to let him starve."

"He's not going to let himself starve," she said. "He'll eat if he's hungry."

"He IS hungry," I said, pointing at the kid as he wolfed down the breakfast bar.

"He's going to be a picky eater," she said waringly.

"SO WHAT?" I said. "There are worse things he could be. It's not like he's a serial killer."

"I just don't want him being a picky eater," she reaffirmed.

"Why?" I said. "What is so damned bad about the boy being a picky eater? What's the worst thing that can happen?"

She thought about it.

"We could go to someone's house for dinner and he could insult them by not eating their food," she admitted quietly.

OHMIGOD!!!

I hadn't even thought of that!!!

"He is a CHILD!!" I laughed. "In the grand scheme of things, if a hostess loses it because our kid won't eat her Chicken Cordon Bleu, it is not the end of the world."

"He could get fat from all the junk food that he eats," she added.

"Ninety-five percent of children today are obese," I countered, making up a percentage that had escaped me at the moment. "He'll fit right in with the rest of the tubby, wheezing human beachballs."

She had no other arguments. Other than the fact that she has been trained by other mothers to believe that being a picky eater is just one notch below being a leper who dabbles in used car sales in society's eyes.

But Sunday night.

Sunday night, Andrew crossed that bridge from being a picky eater into being a gross little fucker.

We were eating shrimp creole that I had made. As it was a bit on the spicy side, I decided to toast some blueberry waffle sticks for the boy.

As he was already in his chair and demanding food, I gave him a quick fix of some pretzel sticks and ranch dip. He dipped the pretzels and ate those heartily.

The toaster oven dinged and I retrieved his waffle sticks with his little container of syrup to dip them in.

I put those down on his high chair tray. So now he had pretzel sticks, waffle sticks, syrup and ranch dip.

It was experiment time.

Before I knew it, blueberry waffle sticks covered in ranch dip were being engulfed with a hearty "Mmmmmmmmmm".

It was enough to make me barf.

The other day, he dipped his grilled cheese in his cup of milk and ate that.

He dipped a Hershey Kiss in mustard a few weeks ago and found that to be delicious.

Maybe the boy is on to something.

But I'll be damned if I'm going to confirm it.


We watched "Barbershop" the other night. It was a pretty good movie. I've seen better and I've seen worse.

Afterwards, I put it back up on Swappingtons, thinking someone else would want it since it's a brand new flick and brand new flicks tend to go quickly.

It's been there for four days now and nobody's bit.

So now...I pimp to you ... Barbershop.

If you want this DVD, please make an offer on it.

And when you're presented with the little box that says "If you wish to add a message to the seller" and you write "Uncle Bob...send me a mix CD with this DVD!" or something to that effect, I will include a brand new mix CD that I just made this weekend.

There's no fancy artwork with the CD because I don't do fancy artwork.

But I'll give you a track listing if that helps and you can do your own damned fancy artwork.

So what have you got to lose other than 24 stinkin' points?

That's right.

Not a damned thing.

Call now.

Operators are standing by because somebody stole their chairs.

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