Feeding Henry is a full-time job.
How come no one ever warned me about how much food teenage boys eat?
I grew up in a house with three girls. I had male cousins, but they lived in far off Ohio and Texas and we didn't see them very often. Most of my friends had sisters or younger brothers and I never noticed what they ate. I don't really remember the eating habits of my male friends in high school or college.
I've come into this whole teenage boy thing woefully unprepared.
Henry's always been a good eater. Ever since that first mouthful of solid food (carrots), Henry has pretty much eaten anything and everything - and with glee and merriment.
At six months old, Henry wore a size 2T, for heavens sake.
He was enormous - just look at those thighs!
I've always appreciated how lucky I am that Henry is a good and adventurous eater. With the exception of peas (which he just doesn't enjoy) and nuts (which he is allergic to), Henry will eat absolutely anything you put in front of him. He loves meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, food of any ethnicity, any kind of condiment, any sort of side dish and every dessert imaginable.
He is a joy to feed.
Except for now that he's almost 14, feeding Henry is no longer so joyful. Feeding Henry has become exhausting.
Henry currently has two food modes: Eating and Starving.
The eating is quiet and enjoyable, but the starving mode is full of loud moaning and groaning.
He just can not eat enough.
On the days that I pick Henry up from school, I've learned to bring the kind of snack that most people would consider a dinner. I pack a sandwich or take-out food like Sushi or an egg bagel from the local Brueggers. If I'm feeling really kind (or desperate since our cupboards are bare), I'll stop at the Shake Shack near Henry's school and pick him up a Shack Burger and Vanilla Shake. I try to find foods full of protein which our pediatrician suggested as a way to fill Henry up (when he was about 9, mind you, but I assume the same thing applies now). I also bring a drink and some sort of small sweet - a snack dessert, if you will.
This "snack" (or second lunch? or pre-dinner?) makes the 45 minute ride home bearable....
until Henry's finished his last bite, at which point he tells me how hungry he is.
He's like a bottom-less pit.
Needless to say, there's more food consumed when we get home and while Henry's doing his homework. And of course, very soon after, Henry will eat whatever dinner I make that evening and later on, when he gets home from hockey practice, Henry will usually help himself to any left-overs or make himself some cereal with milk. It's truly amazing that he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night for a mid-night snack!
Feeding Henry has become my full-time occupation. I find myself at the grocery store constantly. No matter how well-stocked my refrigerator is, the shelves are stripped bare within a day or two. The local Whole Foods must think that I'm feeding an army.
I'd be worried, except like all teenage boys, Henry is the size of a toothpick. He could easily hide behind a narrow birch tree.
But this massive consumption will take a hiatus today. Henry is having minor mouth surgery to remove a baby tooth and then uncover the adult tooth that is stuck the wrong way in his gums. By noon, he'll be swollen, uncomfortable and drinking his food for at least a day.
I shudder to imagine the hunger pains!