I prepare in advance for 7 guests, as American breakfasts are a tour de force. The choices; waffles, pancakes, 4 types of cereal with full fat or fat free milk, fruit, bacon, fresh bread, jam and several gallons of maple syrup. I forget the eggs but remember them just in time. I suspect I deliberately forgot the eggs because eggs are very complicated in America. I hate the egg question in a restaurant: “how would you like your eggs?”
The server will instantly recognize indecision and reel of a list of options all of which are completely incomprehensible. Once, in a moment of uncommon bravery I ordered ‘over easy.’
It was a mistake.
13 years later I am no further forwarder. I stick with what I know, poached.
Maybe I could whip up a flip chart, icons of poached, fried or scrambled? Encourage them to point to their choice? I wonder if they know sign language? I can’t cope with the jargon but if they’re able to translate, I’ll oblige.
“Do yah have any vitamins?”
“Are they from Wholefoods?”
“Is it pulp free OJ?”
“I’m on a diet.”
How can you be on a diet when you’re ten and look like a wafer?
“I like it toasted only on one side?”
“D’ya have any turkey bacon?”
“D’ya have any cloth napkins?”
Diapers babe, diapers. Anyone have any tactile defensiveness issues?
“Are those organic?”
“Are those free range?”
The birds dined at the table and slept in down beds with their owners.
I glance as the girl who is coping, “what can I get you? Name it?”
“I’m great, whatever.”
Finer blending skills I have rarely witnessed. She’s in my son’s class, special ed, but she is also a friend of my daughter’s. There’s a connection, they just clicked.
The boys observe, silent and stupefied by a female warrior clan, but fully clad. I am unused to the company of girls, girls with specific needs that they are able to articulate with accuracy. No-one needs to have their food cut up for them. No-one needs to be persuaded to eat. No-one needs to be spoon fed. The food is not the focus. Chatter is the primary concern interspersed with demands to the server. All too often I focus on the deficits and fail to celebrate those thinly disguised assets.
As they discuss who is in which class of the two fifth form classes, with which teacher, I wade in with my size tens, before the unknown teacher and the unfamiliar class are exposed, “who would like a muffin?”
“Gross! Too fat!”
“Are they blueberry?”
“I’m full alrighty.”
“Do they have muffins for breakfast in England?”
“Don’t they have English muffins there? I hate English muffins.”
“Do you have any whipped butter?”
“No honey? Honey is English right?”
“My eggs are cold. Can I have some more?”
“Certainly. I step to the table, remove the rejects, and glance at ‘coping’ to ask, “what about you dear? How would you like your eggs?”
“Poached,” she grins as her legs pump and snap at the tether band under her chair.
Truly, quite an exceptionally, delightful child.