I am no longer allowed to tell you how much my 15-year-old weighs (I have been given strict orders not to do that)... but let's just say that when I took him into the clinic early this week for pneumonia, the doctor asked me...
Doctor: Why is he so skinny?
Then she turns to Zach before I can answer and asks him...
Doctor: Doesn't your mom feed you?
This question wouldn't have been so bad if she had a sense of humor about it. But she was clearly serious. For the rest of our visit I was pretty sure I was about to be reported to social services for starving my 15-year-old...
He eats... but oftentimes things that aren't really good for him. He'll have several bowls of ice cream, but won't eat dinner...
Zach was feeling much better by Thursday so I made a juicy pot roast in the crockpot. As dinner is winding down, Zach gets up to take his plate to the sink...with ALL the meat left on his plate.
Me: Zach. Eat your meat.
Zach: I ate my meat.
Me: What's that on your plate then?
Zach: That's just what I didn't eat. I ate a lot!
Me: Zach. I only gave you a little bit of meat and I'm pretty sure you didn't eat any of it. Eat it. You need it.
Zach. But I don't like meat.
Me: I don't care. Eat it.
And don't tell me he doesn't like meat. This kid can swallow an entire Big Mac... he eats chili, meatballs, steak, chicken, fish...
He sits back down and I start helping Ethan with his homework. A few minutes later Zach gets up again to bring his plate to the sink...
This time the pieces of pot roast have been methodically dotted all over the plate.
Me: Zach. You didn't eat your meat.
Zach: Yes I did! Look at my plate!
Me: Zach. All you did was spread your meat around the plate.
He stands there and stares at me motionless for a few moments. Then he sits down again.
Within a minute he gets up again and approaches me. Now the pieces of pot roast are neatly placed in a row... with his fork laying on top of them.
Me: Zach. Seriously?
Me: You didn't eat any of it?
Zach: I ate all of it!
I stare at him.
Zach But mooooommmmmmm! I don't like this meat!
Me: Okay. Just eat a few pieces, okay? Just eat like four pieces.
...because all I can think about is Dr. Lydia from the Children's Walk-In Clinic staring at my son two days ago and then looking at me like I have him chained up in some cage without food.
Zach walks to the other side of the kitchen... and stands there....He puts all the meat in his mouth and starts chewing.
I turn away...
Zach: I'm done!
Again. We stand across the kitchen from each other... I look him over... and it only takes a couple seconds for me to notice his hands are behind his back.
Me: Oh my God Zach. Really. Really?
Me: Let me see your hands.
He slowly brings out one hand from behind his back.
Me: Are you kidding me?
Me: Let me see your other hand.
One hand goes back behind and then the other comes out...
Me: You have a wad of chewed meat in your hand?
Zach: Mommy? Pleazzzzeeee? Don't make me eat it. Pleaazzzeeee mooooommmmmm?
He is pitiful.
And a very good actor...
Me: (sigh)... Fine.
He runs to the garbage and throws away the wad of meat...
Ethan: Hey wait a minute! Don't throw that away! I might want it!
I'm pretty sure Ethan didn't know it was chewed up meat....
at least that is what I am telling myself.