making choices

I need to drive to Northampton for an errand and ask Ben if he wants to come with me.  It is late afternoon and snack time and I offer to make popcorn for the ride.  As we settle into the drive, and a dent forming in the big container of popcorn on his lap, he pops a CD in and casually asks ‘what are we having for dinner?’   Smile.  I tell him I will make him the Teriyaki barbeque chicken from Trader Joes and some broccoli.  He nods and smiles.  Then pause, and I could feel it coming before he even opens his mouth, the “and what else?” question that is indicating that he will want rice as well.  But I am testing the waters here.  One of the aspects of food combining theory that makes sense to me is that our bodies work more efficiently in digesting food that is simply combined, for instance, proteins with vegetables, grains & legumes with vegetables, and fruit by itself, the message being that using less energy for digesting leaves more energy for healing and movement and creative endeavors.  That’s been my experience anyway, and I continue to try to share this way with Ben….however, the association of having rice with chicken is already so strong in him and when he asks, ‘What about rice?’  I say that there will be LOTS of broccoli and besides, we are eating all this popcorn right now, and it will be too much to have rice so soon after.  Hmmmm.  There is the slightest pause as he takes his hand out of the popcorn and says, “I’m done.  I don’t want any more popcorn.”  To which I burst out laughing.  He looks puzzled.  And I am imagining that In his mind, he has made a very wise decision.  He will give up popcorn in favor of having rice with his dinner.  I am just taken by surprise at how quickly and clearly and decisively he has made this choice.  He is not clinging to his thinking he should have both, or making a scene that would indicate his reluctance or resistance to letting go of a desire.  I am so in awe of what my son is modeling for me right now…

So, needless to say, I make a big pot of brown rice when we get home.  The broccoli is sautéed in lots of thinly sliced garlic with water and olive oil and a little tamari at the end.  As I fill our plates, I am now anticipating the next ‘choice point’ for Ben.  He loves this chicken and will inevitably want seconds, regardless of how full he is.  He is also heavily invested in having enough leftover to take for lunch tomorrow.  So as he begins to eat his very full plate, I mention that if he wants to have chicken & rice for lunch, then this is it, there will be no seconds tonight.  He nods in agreement and when he is finished eating, says he is ‘done’ and takes his dish out to the sink!  Ding Ding!   He just won round two in the choice making arena and I am so proud.  Of course I do worry and wonder if he will continue to make these choices when I am not around to remind him, smile, and then all I have to do is go back to that cathartic happy moment in the car and trust that he is already well ahead of the curve in the art of making choices….

So, here is the prize.  A nice big bowl of chicken & rice & broccoli to take for lunch…

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