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One of the things that gave me anxiety at the thought of being a mother was cooking meals and feeding my child. I was a single gal around town for most of my early adulthood, and like a lot of women from my generation I had a baby in my thirties — my mid-thirties.

I was pregnant just before the cutoff where it’d classified as a “geriatric” pregnancy. Isn’t that a cute term? Geriatric pregnancy, and who says we live in a white male patriarchal society?

Anyway, I was scared about making meals for my child because I always did such an abysmal job for myself. Mostly I made “salads” and I rarely used my oven. I was in Los Angeles so my meal regimen was coffee and toast in the morning then Go-Go-Go until I was about to pass out or kill someone by 4 or 5 p.m., then grab a huge salad somewhere and I was full for the rest of the day. No wonder I was skinny and a little crazy.

Those heady L.A. days of commercial auditions and my studio apartment.

So here I am now. Cooking for my son who is a “picky” eater. I was so excited to give him solid food that the first food I gave him was a mashed avocado. He hated it, of course. For the first year or two of his life he survived on breast milk and butternut squash baby food. It was the healthy baby one; you can shut up now.

How he’s eight and he likes pizza – cheese pizza. Okay, and maybe a hot dog now and then.

He won’t eat mac and cheese or scrambled eggs or bananas. He will have greens but with lemon juice only, no dressing. Sometimes I feel like I’m making meals for a supermodel: chicken cooked plain, no skin, and some greens with just lemon juice. Whatever, Gwyneth. He doesn’t like mashed potatoes! How is this even possible?

I feel guilty. Nitrates are bad. Even if I buy my hot dogs, the overpriced ‘hot dogs’ from Rowe Farms they’re still … well, hot dogs.

And pizza.

Pizza Pizza is probably the most depressing place in the world. The lighting! The colour scheme! The disgusting pictures of the food itself spray-mounted to the windows. Even the font of Pizza Pizza reminds me of an old porno movie theatre from the 60’s. But my son loves it.

Oh and sugar. He loves loves loves sweet things. Nutella.

I bought Nutella. I know, I know – I’m not one of those Nutella parents. I’m ashamed that I bought it, but I did. I mix it in with his oatmeal in the morning. And then I eat it. Because it’s there. Like Everest. A mountain of sugary goodness that makes me fly high for 15 minutes and then crash like a junkie at the corner of Queen and Sherbourne.

I try, I really do. I made chicken strips. Homemade chicken strips. Organic chicken breast, organic egg, bread crumbs from the local bakery. (Okay, they’re No Frills bread crumbs. I can feel you judging me.)

I watched my son eat it like a woman in a 1970’s Movie of the Week. An abused wife who expects to be yelled at, but hopes for the best. Jack took the first bite and I waited with bated breath ready to flinch.

“This is good.” he said, surprised. And I sighed with relief.

One more meal down, only 3650 more meals to go.

Precious Chong is a writer and actor and professional stilt-walker living in Toronto. Listen to her podcast with Melissa Story right here.

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