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A MIND OF HER OWN

YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT YOUR CHILDREN

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.   Kahlil Gibran

Ahhhhhh, I love this quote from The Prophet.  I have echoed this sentiment, almost daily, since the birth of my favorite human on the planet — my girl, Grace.  She came to this world with A LOT.  I thought she was a blank slate, but, SURPRISE, she’s been marching to her own beat from the get-go.  She concocts her own outfits (as evidenced by the above photo), invents elaborate “plays” for her 14,000 stuffed animals, composes rhyming songs (“Granny Fanny Panty” is my current fave), and manages to find something hilarious and silly about every experience in her life . . . except food.  There is nothing go-with-the-flow or childlike about her eating preferences.  One morning, we left her with her favorite babysitter of all time, Katie, to go play tennis.  When we returned home, Grace ran, top-speed, to open the door for us.  We chirped, “Hi, babe!  How was your morning?”  She looked up at us, betrayed,  angry and bewildered, “Katie overcooked the eggs.”  Here’s the snack primer we give babysitters:

*No flavored yogurt, only plain with NO toppings

*NO pizza, hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese, hamburgers, or any other Kid Food

*Scrambled eggs with truffle salt

*No white bread – only dense, chewy, whole grain (preferably with buckwheat)

*Lima beans, Fava beans, kiwi, lentil soup, brown rice, avocado

*No “regular” cheese, only super sour goat cheese

*No meat, only beans with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt

*Whole wheat pasta – no tomato sauce – with olive oil & salt

***Just put olive oil and salt on everything, and she might eat it

Yep.  Looks like a list for a spoiled, aristocratic brat, huh?  Only here’s the rub – I didn’t impose ANY of this on her.    She has told US that she hates yogurt with “too sweet stuff” in it.  She has told US that she will NOT eat meat (since she was 6 months old, when I used to puree it).  She has told US that “white bread is gross – too chewy and too sweet – YUCK.”  Yuck is a new favorite word of hers, and she’s not afraid to use it . . . liberally.

So, when Grace piped up, as we read this book:

“Hey, Mama!  Let’s have a pizza party and make cheese pizza with tomato sauce!” I leapt into action – DEFCON 5 IN THE KITCHEN!!!  THE KID WANTS TO EAT PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My husband ran to the grocery store in his pajamas.  I tried to act cool, as my heart raced like a jackrabbit.  We assembled the dough and left it on the counter to rise while we made the sauce and grated the cheese.  We were so excited, we broke into spontaneous dance party mode – WHEE!  SHE WANTS PIZZA!!!  TURN UP THE MUSIC!!!  Our girl’s eyes lit up as she tossed the dough into the air, and they didn’t dim a bit when one of the dough rounds splatted smack on top of the dog. “We’ve got three more!” we cheered.  We pulled the hot pizza out of the oven as Grace set the table.  Suddenly, we got very quiet.  The ceremonial first bite was upon us.  Grace took a big, chewy chomp and looked at me with those huge, brown eyes, and said . . . “Well, just as I thought, Mama.  Tomato sauce and cheese is YUCK!”

In the end, we made a special pizza just for her with goat cheese, olive oil and salt.  And she loved it.

Here’s our recipe for the dough.  Feel free to top it with whatever your child will actually eat:

Homemade Pizza Dough

2 t. Rapid Rise yeast

1 t. sugar

1 c. warm water

2 c. + 1/3 c. bread flour

2 t. kosher salt

2 T. olive oil

Put all ingredients, except extra 1/3 c. bread flour, in bowl of electric mixer, fitted with dough hook.  Mix until dough starts to come together.  Sprinkle as much of the 1/3 c. flour over the dough until it pulls away from sides.  The dough should be a little wet, but not particularly sticky or stiff.  You should be able to handle it easily.  Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise about an hour, until it’s doubled.

Divide dough into 2 – 4 pieces, depending on the size of pizzas you’d like to make.  Shape each piece into a ball, set on a floured cookie sheet and cover with your oiled plastic wrap from the previous step.  Let rise about another 45 min.

Roll out a ball on a floured surface and then toss into the air, like a cartoon pizza chef.  Place on a cookie sheet, dusted with semolina flour or regular flour, top with your favorite toppings and bake at 400• until done as you like it.  Enjoy!

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