My wife and I try to maintain a reasonably good-for-us diet, and as a result, we’re always talking to our kids about which foods are (and aren’t) healthy. Our kids are weird in that they pretty much like healthy stuff. Broccoli is a staple at the Boyett house, as are strawberries and other fruits. Neither of them are major consumers of junk food, nor do they beg for Happy Meals or candy. No idea how this happened, by the way. We’re thrilled about it, but we don’t claim to be parenting geniuses or anything.
But anyway, our food discussions include a lot of conversations like this:
Owen (4 years old): Daddy, are cookies healthy?
Jason: Um, cookies have milk and eggs in them. Those things are healthy.
Owen: Cookies are good for you!
Jason: Well, not really. If you eat too many cookies, they’re not good for you.
Owen: You eat cookies a lot. You shouldn’t eat so many. Cookies aren’t healthy.
Jason: Finish your peas.
And so the other day, after lunch, I was getting on my bike to head back to work. (I only live a couple miles away, so most days I pedal back and forth rather than driving.) Owen went into the garage with me — he likes to climb onto a stool to raise and lower the garage door — and as I was leaving he asked, “Why do you ride your bike all the time?”
Not wanting to get into a long conversation about the rising cost of gasoline, the virtues of reducing one’s carbon footprint, and the benefits of an active lifestyle — which, admittedly, is a chore of a discussion even with some grown-ups — I answered Owen’s question by saying, “Just because it’s healthy. Bikes are healthy.”
To which Owen responded, with a hilarious amount of shock and dismay in his voice, “What?!? Bikes are HEALTHY?!? You can’t eat a bike!“