The surefire way to get kids excited about fruits and vegetables

It’s not my only success in guiding him to a better life. I’ve already convinced him that CJ Dennis is the best poet in the world, even overshadowing Shakespeare. I imagine that one day he will go to university and surprise his teachers by offering a doctorate in early 20th century Australian comic poetry. Oh, and I’m also starting to teach him the lure of high-pressure hoses.

Yet when it comes to obsessions, it’s a two-way street. Most of the time, it’s Pip who is the instigator, with me as his faithful follower.


The toy cars might sound boring, but not when you do the sound effects as you race them up and down the sides of the sofa, sometimes crushing them. And modeling clay may, at first glance, seem limited as a means of expression – until you decide to make a festive wreath out of it.

I don’t remember those moments from my years as a parent, although I assume they happened. Maybe I was too busy – feeding my children, watering them, scolding them – to just sit and absorb the lessons they were there to teach.

On a trip to the zoo, for example, Pip presents a lesson in attention: everything is interesting if you choose to bless it with your concentration. And so, with a large tiger on the other side of the glass, Pip’s attention is instead on a chicken, walking on our side of the fence.

I try to direct his gaze to the tiger, before realizing my mistake. Why is one animal intrinsically more interesting than another? Pip cannot be blamed for his choice. The chicken is fascinating once you study its chaotic movements.


Then another example: Pip points to the log the tiger is leaning against, while still ignoring the tiger. He finds the diary interesting and – after paying so much attention to it – I am obliged to accept. The log is captivating – shimmering with moss, speckled with light, dented by time. You just need to be careful enough.

Later – according to Pip – a pigeon outweighs a flamingo; a climbing rope beats the monkey climbing on it; and a moat proves more fascinating than the animals spotted on its distant shore.

Then, once at home, the pattern repeats itself: a toy is defeated by the cardboard box in which it was supplied.

Soon it’s time for another banana. Pip carefully removes the first section of skin and we head to the compost. The bin is quite stinky – a sign that we haven’t added enough cardboard. Personally, I blame the assistant manager.

Luckily, when it comes to compost, he’s ready to give up his new favorite toy. The cardboard box is torn to shreds and there she goes.

At this rate, I’m going to have to give him a promotion.

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