When I was five, I made a promise, and I kept it

I distinctly remember some moments in my childhood and even my infancy. Colours and flavours, and smells stick with me. I cannot forget them because of the magic they evolved me in. I feel blessed to have these memories. In my mind, I can travel right there any time I want. I can recall and feel the same feelings and sensations. 

I remember what I think was the first time I experienced a red circular shape floating above me within my visual field. I felt excited it was magical. I was a baby in the cot, under a baby ceiling mobile. 

Trying “polvorones” (a traditional Spanish Christmas deliciousness) for the first time has stuck with me for good. The delicious flavour I experienced the first time that I recall eating it has me enchanted to this day. A rich sweet dusty texture, dissolves in my mouth, making my palate and tongue sing harmoniously every time I remember. That day I walked to the “salita”, our breakfast room in our home in Valencia; I went by the table, and I reached up to my arm and picked up a piece of polvoron. I sat under the table, and I ate it at once, indulging as only a toddler knows how. I was about two years old.

Another time, I was sitting at the dining table; there was a plate of lentil soup in front of me; it had been there for a long time. I had been sitting there for what seemed hours. I didn’t want the food, and I didn’t like it. My mum was busy with chores in and out of my sight; she would occasionally throw away the sentence “You are not getting up from that table until you finish it all.” 

I’d been there for ages, and she kept confirming that I still had “ages” more to go. She did this stuff a lot. I wasn’t going to eat it. I didn’t like it. I was bored; I wanted to go and play with my brother. This was a no-win situation. 

I looked at my mum one of the times she passes by and made a decision; I remember it clearly: I swore that I would never make my children eat if they didn’t want to. I was five years old.

Unsurprisingly, I’m a mother of two teens, and I have kept my promise.

My teens eat everything they find at home that’s edible. However, as they were growing up, they were definitely “fussy eaters”. I always strictly refrained from making them eat when they didn’t want to. I kept my promise very consciously.

A saw a little girl-girl the other day; she was five or six. She was with her mom in the shop. She caught my attention because of the way she was looking at her mum, with such defiance in her eyes. I couldn’t see her nose or mouth, so I didn’t get a look at the whole of the little girl’s expression, but for a split second, I thought I saw what she was thinking: 

She was envisioning herself growing tall and strong, taller than her mum. Then from that power and more “equal” position, she looked at her mum and at the top of her voice shouted, “Why on earth would you cover my f ***?! Didn’t you know I had to BREATHE! Did you want to kill me!? Did you go temporarily INSANE? Or were you born that way, you FOOL!