Giving Peas a Chance

My little city girl loves the country. And who can blame her. It’s a world of dragonflies and chipmunks, a pond stocked with fish, countless birds feasting on the feeders, tall grass tickling the toes, and a cow. Even if the cow is only a four-foot painted piece of plywood leaning against the patio wall, to Thalia a cow is a cow and this one’s name is Apple.

The things she sees in picture books all live in Grandma and Papa’s backyard and I think to Thalia, it’s heaven. Heaven with mosquitoes and a plywood cow.

I know Thalia’s growing up as I see her most requested backyard excursion evolve from the toy bag to the red swing to the vegetable garden. Before we’ve even pulled up to the driveway, Thalia’s asking for Peas? Peas? so sweetly that if she were using the same tone to request her own solid gold roller rink in her bedroom, you’d have no choice but to give in.

It started a few weeks ago as Grandma took Thalia and her cousin Ella on a guided tour of the garden, pointing out kale, peppers, lettuces, tomatoes, and an entire perimeter of sweet peas. Thalia and Ella each walked with great care along the boards laid out between the rows of plants, carrying cups from their tea set which they eagerly filled with dirt. Sometimes rocks or a stray pinecone. Thalia wasn’t interested in the frais de bois or the mint leaves or the kale, but rocks–those are always good for the picking.

This weekend things were different. The peas had sprung.

“Take the fat peas only,” Grandma cautioned, as Thalia pawed through each twirly vine for the plump, ready-to-eat pods.

Papa showed her how to unzip one then open it like a sunken chest, revealing eight, perfectly round, sweet-as-sugar peas.

She hesitated at first, prepared to spit it out as she did with all new foods. But as the flavor hit her tastebuds and melted into her tongue, Thalia’s crinkled face brightened, telling us that peas were Christmas and birthdays and a Wonderpets marathon all rolled into one.

“MORE FAT PEAS!” she shouted.

By the end of the day, she had devoured every ripe pod in the garden, and some that hardly were–nearly a third of the total crop. Papa had to hold her back from plucking at the skinny pods, so eager was she to continue along on the marathon of peas. The garden is not a supermarket, with an endless supply of produce hiding in a back room somewhere. She was not happy. And so we assured her that we could try again tomorrow. That maybe, in the morning there just might be some more that had plumped up overnight.

We were all thrilled at her reaction. A toddler tantrum over fresh vegetables? Foot stomping and tear shedding over something green? Be still my heart.

The next morning, before she had even gotten out of her crib: Peas? Fat peas?

And indeed there were.

Now we can stop counting french fries as a vegetable

40 thoughts on “Giving Peas a Chance”

  1. Ah! The secret, at last! But why, oh why, do my parents, who live on farm and have plenty of fat peas, so far from PunditGirl — 4 hours is a long way to drive, even for “fat peas!”

  2. My son feels the same way about cherry tomatoes that come warm and fresh from the vine. Yum!

  3. Thanks for making me jealous! Your daughter eats so well! Veggies are the hardest food to get into my toddler. Sigh… but he does like his mac’n’cheese and fries, so at least I have that. Although, peas are soo much healthier! Cute story.

  4. Good for her!You should hear my boys on the subject of peas.Ben intones authoritatively and darkly, “There is NOTHING worse than peas.”And Jack nods, bobbing his head up and down like a puppet, and says, “Yes, Ben. You’re right, Ben.”

  5. and who can blame her? Fresh peas from the garden are the bomb!!They were a favorite of mine as a kid, and still are!Cute story!

  6. Mmmmm, fresh peas straight from the vine. Your little one has great taste! Veggies straight from the garden are the best. (wiping away drool)Can’t wait to hear how she likes the other veggies!

  7. Yeah!! We’ll have to try this approach when we go to the grandparents’ farm this summer!I have to agree with T though. Peas are just yummy.

  8. She eats a vegatable and you have proof, sounds like a productive weekend to me. To me, peas are a kid veggie. I loved them as a kid, but I don’t really like them now. Those pictures are so cute.

  9. That picture is too cute!My Dad has a garden that is amazing and as a result my kids have grown up loving tomatoes, green peppers, radishes etc. We get comments all the time on how well they eat their veggies but as they have gotten older they have learned the difference between grocery store and garden fresh so now we have to make regular trips to the farmers market to keep up with the produce demands.

  10. Her hair! When you’re looking down at the top of their heads, she and my Pie look exactly alike.

  11. I want to go live in Grandma’s house. That garden sounds heavenly.Peas are the one vegetable I can always count on Chicky eating. I think there’s something irresistible about being able to pop them into your mouth one by one, like candy.

  12. We have an abundance of peas, please come and have some. Please! Soon we will have an abundance of tomatoes, and already overstocked on the lettuce. Uh, have I mentioned that we have a garden?

  13. Ack. Sniff. I love it. My dad had the best garden back home, and our sweet peas were the best in the land. They were like veggie-candy. I used to eat them until my stomach hurt. This brought back a sweet memory…

  14. I must be getting really old but looking at those pictures all I could think was how lucky to be a grandma with those two darling little girls following you around!

  15. So sweet! And I love the pictures! I wish E loved peas too. But, unfortunately, I totally relate to your last post about the incredibly picky eater. E will eat burgers but NO KETCHUP. She will eat a hot dog but NO BUN. She will not touch anything green or containing nutritional value. I’m going to have to sign her up for the Shaq Challenge in a few years I have a feeling.

  16. That is SO CUTE and you are SO lucky!P puts a pea in his mouth, rolls it around for a sec and then spits it out while exclaiming “No no! Badddd!”But he does SAY “peas, peas” (except he really means “please please”)

  17. My parents had a garden and told stories of watching my sister and I stand out there and graze, but take the same vegetable and put it on a plate….eeeewwww!!!Idea for you – take your daughter to the farmers market (NYC has several AWESOME ones) and have her try sugar snap peas. Just eat the whole thing, no peeling required. And she may be inspired to try more things.

  18. Food fresh from the garden always tastes better than the stuff from the store. A farmers market is a good 2nd place, but oh how I wish my yard had more sunny spots so I could have a garden full of fresh vegetables for my daughter to enjoy!

  19. Just another reason, I like to either buy local or at Pick Your Own farms whenever possible.You just don’t get that at the supermarket.

  20. Awesome. Last year, my kid and her two cousins completely stripped bare my mother’s two currant bushes. Ripe, not so ripe, they ate every single berry. And currants are not exactly sweet.

  21. My daughter does the same thing with cherry tomatoes. My husband brings them in from his garden and puts them on the counter and she snatches them up and puts them all in her mouth like a squirrel. Fat cheeks and all. Much better than the gummy bears!

  22. Last summer, my girls couldn’t stay out of the garden. They were picking pepers that fit in their hands, cucumbers that could be devoured in two bites, ect. I don’t think i ate a single veggie last year, but in the end, I guess it’s all good because I know they were eating them. This year, I hope to at least get one,little veggie.We have raspberries that have just ripened. Every morning and evening there are enough ripe ones for them. And every morning when I let the dog out, Moe sneaks out to pilfer the berry bushes. During the day, they are over there searching for ones they may have missed or ones that have turned purple while they were playing.Fresh veggies are like Mana from Heaven for them!

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