Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

4.9.07: On foods forsaken


When I was pregnant with Charlie, I read an article that said women who consume chocolate while pregnant have happier babies. It sounded like it was based on a very scientific, very credible, very critical research study to me, so I of course took the information to heart straight-away, seeking out any opportunity I could find to contribute to my baby's future happiness. Nine months and sixty pounds later... the study, in fact, proved correct. I have the sweetest, happiest baby. He coos. He smiles. He breaks into spontaneous belly laughs. Except, of course, when he's been screaming for four hours in a row...four times a day.

During the worst of these screaming incidents, I found myself paging the after-hours on-call nurse at our pediatrician's office. She suggested that I might be eating something that's bothering Charlie's stomach and began rattling off a list of foods that I should eliminate from my diet:

"No ice cheese... no cucumbers... no tomato strawberries... no orange cranberry onions...basically, no salad stuff...nothing spicy..."

"Umm... maybe it would be easier if you told me what I can eat?" I interrupted.

"Let's see..." she responded, "Rice...chicken... umm....rice?"

"OK. Done." I replied, all the while trying to figure out what nursing mothers in countries like India and Thailand were eating at that very moment?

"Oh—and no chocolate," the nurse interjected over my mental digression.

"Umm... can you repeat that?" I asked, over Charlie's screams, "I don't think I heard you correctly..."

"No chocolate."

"Great. Well, that's just great," I thought. I mean, there's nothing I wouldn't do for my son (note the aforementioned diligent effort to maximize my son's future happiness), but, give up chocolate?! Well, that's just crazy talk. I mean, are we even sure that this chocolate theory has been substantiated? Where are the studies? Where is the research? (And, where, oh where, is my self control?)

The five food groups

Since having sworn off chocolate and virtually ever other food group (chocolate is one of the major food groups, right?), chocolate seems to be raining down on our doorstep daily. Grandparents and aunties and uncles have been sending Easter baskets loaded with chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies and chocolate-filled balls of chocolate.

The other day, Julia asked: "Mama, can I have a piece of chocolate from my Easter eggs?", and it tickled me just a little, because she had been playing with her basket of eggs in another room for a good twenty minutes, and could very well have snuck a piece without me seeing her, but it would never cross her mind to do that (the way it occurred to me when I was pregnant with Charlie, hiding in the kitchen trying to shove a piece of chocolate in my mouth before she could see me, because otherwise she'd want a piece, too, and then I wouldn't have a leg to stand on when I explained to her why it's really not such a good idea to eat so much chocolate).

Every now and then, it occurs to me to sneak a piece of chocolate when no one's looking. But, then I look at my boy and realize that I couldn't. I could never deliberately hurt him. And, besides—what's a little chicken and rice fast when I have this delicious boy? (You'd think it would at least be a boon to my waistline, but so far my chicken and rice diet is making the scale creep up in the clockwise direction.)

The five senses

Julia learned about the five senses the other day and was reciting them to Will when he got home from work: "Eyes (pointing to her eyes)...fell (sniff sniffing)...fingers (touching Will's clothes)...listening (pointing to her ears)...and...what was the last one? Oh, yeah -- love."

I am trying hard to keep Julia's fifth sense in mind as I pass up the gooey chocolate brownies that Will and Julia baked together this weekend. Right now, Charlie is lying in his crib, cooing... content...happy...and that makes it all worthwhile.

And besides, this boy is sweeter than chocolate.

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

Read the next entry: 4.16.07: Gone Fishin'