Posted by: laughs4dads | November 12, 2010

How to Clean Green Gook Off Furniture

If you take as truth that babies represent human instincts at their purest, if you go on the assumption that babies display innate human tendencies unaltered by society and advertising, if you believe that what babies have a natural desire to eat is what’s really healthy for human beings, then a lot of doctors and nutritionists have been lying to us.

Of course, early on, Casey’s diet consisted of whatever was coming out of Barbara’s breasts.  This was a very convenient stage in our child’s development, as we didn’t have to shlep bottles with us wherever we went, and we rarely forgot to bring food with us. Barbara wasn’t thrilled with it, though, (especially the breast pump), so we were into formula at four months.

Then there came some sort of magical threshold at which Barb and her doctor decided Casey could consume food.  I don’t know if this is marked by some biological milestone in the baby, like the ability to swallow, or by the parent’s ability to look at, smell and put into their child’s mouth substances that appear to be different colors of excrement. Ask any parent and he or she will tell you that the grand daddy of mush, the winner of the All-Time Disgusting Experience Award, is watching a child try to consume Baby Spinach, or at least what the jar says is spinach, but which looks more like somebody put some army fatigues in a food processor. 

It would not be so bad if the stuff disappeared, and quickly, into the child’s mouth. However, pureed spinach is a highly evolved substance, and it proves Darwin’s theory by exhibiting all sorts of defense mechanisms against its natural predator, which is not the child, who would actually prefer to bathe in the stuff than to eat it, but the child’s parents. 

First, the dreaded spinach avoids consumption by spreading rapidly, covering the child, the floor and the walls like moss.  It then immediately forms a crust–a protective outer layer to prevent its removal by anything short of industrial-strength acid. These little tricks of evolution are why spinach has been the staple of baby diets for eons and eons and how it will show up in parents’ cupboards even if they don’t actually buy it.  The jars spawn and swim upstream from the supermarket into your house. This has been documented. Ask anybody.

In fact, if we really wanted to end the problem of starving kids around the world, all we’d have to do is go into those poor third world countries and build some kitchen cabinets. Within days, and without any assistance, those cabinets would be fully stocked with baby spinach. Yes, if you have kids, and you have kitchen cabinets, you will have baby spinach.

Of course, that still might not solve the starvation problem. Because even though you had all that spinach, you still might not be able to convince those poor kids, even the hungriest ones, to eat it.

Fortunately for the parents who have to remove the stains, most babies hate spinach, and so most parents don’t have to deal with it much, unless they’re the kind of parents who like torturing their children with atrocious foods like spinach and liver just because these foods are supposedly good for them. 

Unfortunately, Casey absolutely loved spinach to the point where we considered buying olive green furniture so the stains would blend in. (Okay, the title of this post implies that I have a good way to clean green gunk off furniture. Here’s how: take a razor blade and excise the stained portion of the upholstery. This will leave some exposed padding.  Then look through your child’s crayon collection and select the color that most closely resembles the original hue of the upholstery and draw over the exposed padding.  If you have stupidly purchased a really expensive piece of furniture and are reluctant to slice away the stain, you can use the razor blade to slash your wrists. I only promised to tell you how to get the stain off; I didn’t say you’d like the procedure.)

Back to food. It turned out Casey loved most vegetables. And that brings me back to natural tendencies. 

If Casey’s childhood eating habits were any indication, human beings have a natural tendency to eat lots of healthy vegetables. Isn’t that nice?  But wait. Casey’s eating habits indicated some other things, too. They indicated, for example, that chocolate must be the healthiest food known to man, that chocolate is so healthy, it also does you a world of good even when smeared all over your body.  French fries are good for you too, especially when dipped into gobs of ketchup. Bagels are very healthy, but only when there is about a pound of cream cheese on them. Don’t forget Chinese spare ribs. And macaroni and cheese.

I’m right, aren’t I? Babies, unaffected by society and advertising, eat only what their little bodies naturally want. And, apparently, their little bodies want the messiest foods available so that the baby’s aesthetic needs, as well as its nutritional needs, are met simultaneously. As any baby will tell you, food is to eat, to wear and to decorate with.

And, as any parent will tell you: “YUCCH!”

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