My teenager got braces on Monday.
Most of his friends probably slept in on the holiday, but my wife and I chose, almost two months ago, that he would get his braces on the day where he wouldn’t miss any school. We tried to prepare him that it would be painful for a few days and that he wouldn’t be able to eat certain foods for about 16 months. We have a list we go by at the house. As his dad, I feel sorry for him.
Part of my pity, though, stems from his history. When my son was very young, he was a picky eater. He wouldn’t touch meat and ate limited number of foods. My wife and used to tell people that he was a vegetarian. I was grateful that he at least ate peanut butter.
Then came that fateful day when he was spending a little time with his grandfather. He helped his grandpa prepare ribs, including generational male bonding over the big green egg (see below).
When the time came to eat, there was no way my son was going to upset his grandfather. He bit into the ribs…and discovered he liked them.
Since then, my son has grown to like many foods. And though he doesn’t eat everything, he’s willing to try anything. Now, for the next 16 months, his choices are limited. He can still eat peanut butter sandwiches, though he worries about eating them at school. (At home, he can brush his teeth.) Having a Japanese mother, my son has been raised on a wide variety of noodle dishes. He definitely won’t starve.
Still, he checks the list every so often to confirm what isn’t there. For a kid who took a long time to learn the joy of eating, it’s going to be a grueling time.