“What would you like for breakfast tomorrow?” I ask my four-and-a-half year old daughter. Her breakfast choices tend to range within the standards, with cold cereal or pancakes (made from scratch not my forte) being top rated followed by bananas with yogurt or cereal, peanut butter and jelly, french toast and the occasional request for “super-deluxe cheesy eggs.” Every so often I will receive a request for something the likes of grilled cheese or chicken noodle soup, whatever satisfies her. I’ve learned to abandon my surprise daily hot breakfasts, including smiley face french toast with fruit and almonds; my efforts are still appreciated but only upon her request.
A decisive “Cheerios and bacon” is her reply.
Ah the steadfast bacon. The single food my daughter would consume at every meal on a daily basis if we’d only let her. A dietary staple in her mind. Who can forget her “I need six pieces of bacon, not two” comment. Or of course the ever famous “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I inquired many months ago.
“A pig farmer. I’m going to make my own bacon!” Ah the simplistic innocence yet infallible logic of youth.
For my daughter, Cheerios and bacon is completely rational. It’s what she wants; it tastes good and it makes her happy. She isn’t yet affected and burdened by the societal constraints of traditional breakfast menu social norms. She is free and has instinctively and decisively chosen her morning fuel.
Tomorrow I will get up before her to make the bacon. She will undoubtedly pour her own cereal and milk (after dragging her chair across the kitchen to reach a bowl). A glass of orange juice, which she always mixes with water as of late, and we will call it a well-balanced start to what I can only hope is a well-balanced day. I can only imagine what she’ll want for snack after school…