One of the many reasons to shop at PCC (Natural Markets), besides tons of carefully selected fresh, local organic produce? Their Kid Fruit Program, described on their website as “Free fruit for kids! Kids ages 12 and under can choose a free serving of a fruit or vegetable to eat while their parents shop. Kids are occupied with eating a delicious snack and parents feel good about establishing healthy eating habits.” Brilliant, I know.
Earlier this week, Stella and I ventured to PCC for what has become a weekly ritual: Slightly-less-angst-ridden-than-before grocery shopping followed by a walk to the “chocolate store” (Theo Chocolate‘s showroom and factory, just down the block and around the corner from PCC in Fremont, where free chocolate samples are abundant and the atmosphere is welcoming) then a walk back to our car along a portion of the Burke Gilman Trail that abuts the canal. After some Hazelnut Crunch and Coconut Curry milk chocolate bites, we wander and wave to friendly boat captains, watch the boats’ wakes ripple out and tumble and splash against the rocks at our feet, and occasionally spot fish taking breaks in the nooks and crannies along the edge. Also, and this is less quaint, I have to physically restrain Stella from launching herself into the water and divert tantrums by pointing to birds.
During this last trip, we meandered through PCC’s produce section as usual, in terribly inefficient fashion because neither my list nor my head are remotely organized. Well, Stella’s mental/verbal tractor beam locked in on the carrots. So I handed one of the massive, bright, slightly dirty spears to her, expecting her to wave it around like a wand or imitate a bunny rabbit as she’s known to do. I figured I’d slice it up and saute it for her later. But no. She proceeded to vigorously munch on that carrot throughout our time in the store (which meant she also sat contentedly in the seat of the shopping cart–unheard of! Thank you, brilliant PCC!), and all the way to the chocolate factory. On our way out, a cashier remarked, referring to the Kid Fruit program, “How cool to see a kid pick a vegetable instead of a fruit!” Stella finished at least half of the entire large carrot, Bugs-Bunny style, and her chin took on an orange hue. I so wish I’d captured that moment on film–my little twenty-three-month-old walking down the street in her chic blue glasses, with tiny pig tails in her hair and a giant carrot in hand.
Mind you, this is the girl who, after a day of fun at a birthday party a couple of months ago, during which she only ate crackers, cookies, and cake, came home and demanded broccoli. I quickly steamed some and she devoured an entire bowl of the green stuff. This is also the girl who, upon spying a fresh white bag or box from Trophy Cupcakes in the grip of a passerby, recognizes the logo and goes absolutely bonkers, breathlessly demanding “birthday cupcakes!” Her “intake” fluctuates, like most toddlers, but this girl loves to eat.
Stella’s feeding issues are so far behind us, I can barely see them in my proverbial rear-view mirror. But, when I saw her eating that carrot, I was lifted up. I remembered and I realized. We are such a long way from hypoallergenic formula through an NG tube. So close to two years old. Beyond lucky.