lesson from a baby

From not really knowing how to open his mouth, to opening and swallowing the offered food like a hungry baby bird – our son has gone from beginner to master at eating in two short months’ time. His eyes start shining when he sees his little bowl and spoon coming towards him and he starts jumping up and down in his little chair. He was a bit skeptical to food in the beginning, always trying, tasting, but really only showing love for banana those early days. A few weeks later however he had acquired taste for any baby food we bought at the store. Now, he even loves eating food we prepare for him ourselves.

When I moved to Japan, I had already come to love the Japanese cuisine. Since moving here I have had a number of favorite foods, from Japanese curry rice to ramen to sushi to sashimi to nabe. I can honestly say that I love almost everything I have met in the form of food here, with one big smelly exception – natto. Natto is basically fermented sticky soy beans. When I first visited Japan I was curious about natto and tried to eat it. The smell alone made me fell like the natto was not from this century, and the taste told me that this must be food that has had at least a few centuries worth fo time to rotten before being served. Since then I have struggled to get used to natto, but even now, with my wife loving natto and eating it several times a week, while I am ok with the smell I can still not tolerate the taste. The closest I have come to like natto is when visiting my parents in law and eating natto the way my wife’s father does – mixed with honey.

I have come to the conclusion that I may never learn to eat natto which really would be a shame since it is supposed to be one of the best super foods for health. Being so impossible for me to enjoy, I was very happy and not a little surprised when our son did not even make a face the first time he tasted natto in the form of purée, he just opened his moth again, wanting to have more. I keep that moment alive inside, feeling it as already had a deep impact on me. If I cannot manage to eat good healthy food that our son does not complain about eating, I have basically no foundation for asking him to eat what he does not like while growing up. So while I am sure I will find myself feeling irritated when he in the future refuses to eat something delicious that I have spent hours cooking, I will work to remember to remind myself that our son is eating natto, so whatever pretentions I have on him and his choices of food, I better have a look inside myself instead and thank him for the first of I am sure many life lessons he will teach me.

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