For several years now I have speculated on what, specifically, our children's love languages might be. Words of Affirmation? Physical Touch? Maybe Acts of Service?
I think I got at least one of Atticus's locked down, finally: Food. His love language is Food.
Never mind that this is not one of the love languages identified in the eponymous book. I am telling you: food is how this boy knows he is loved.
He hasn't exactly been subtle about it. When his teacher gave each student the prompt, "I love my mom because..." his answer wasn't "she tells me she loves me every day," "she doesn't crawl away when I drape my sick and fevered limbs over her," or even "my shoulders were as big as my head at birth which made the delivery process even more of an unforgettable experience for my sainted mother."
No, his answer was, "Because she cooks for me," accompanied by an illustration of, yes, me cooking, done in Crayolas. That's right, this isn't something I puzzled out after eons of observation and heart-to-heart conversations with our son. He made this as clear as possible for me, reinforcing the idea by asking me every day after school, "Are we having something hot for supper tonight? Can we have something hot?" This might sound like a rabid affinity for Cajun or other deliciously spicy food, but all it means to him is he does NOT appreciate it when I say we're fending for ourselves tonight and he can help himself to yogurt or a sandwich or whatever. Adelaide and Caedmon love those days. Atticus decidedly does not.
He was certainly excited today when his sister decided to make a pie to celebrate Pi Day,
but what really got him going what the fact that I was making a new recipe tonight for supper.
Now, normally any announcement of new recipes is met with groaning on the part of our children, seasoned with a judicious amount of tearing the hair from their own scalps. It doesn't matter how many times I reason, "All your favorites dishes were once new recipes," they act like I am trying to poison them when something unfamiliar is on the table (to be fair, there have been times when I thought poisoning might be preferable to the crap I've ended up with after all that work).
For some reason, however, the sound of BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Quesadillas was perfectly suited to his 8-year-old palate. He was so excited. So pumped.
This excitement soon turned to anxiety however, which became obvious as he began to haunt the kitchen while I was crumbling the bacon, dicing the apple, shredding the cheddar. He started asking, repeatedly, "Wait, if you don't like this, are you going to make it again? Mom? What if you don't like it? Will you make it again? What if I like it, but you don't? What if everyone likes it, but you don't? Does that mean you won't make it again? Mom? Does it?"
The explanation for his agitation is this: I won't make food I don't like. There have been times in the past when I made a new dish, one or two of the members of our family enjoyed it, but I did not. This means we are not having it again, unless someone else wants to make it, in which case, be my guest.
To Atticus's immense relief, I loved the new quesadillas. So did Derek. So did Atticus. Adelaide and Caedmon tried it, but ended up opting for their standard chicken and cheese quesadillas, because they have boring baby taste buds. I did not say this to their faces.
Luckily for all of us, it's spring break, so it's easier for me to make sure I've made something "hot" most nights. This includes a new recipe for beef stew with homemade bread here in a couple days, because if it's going to snow during spring break, I am at least going to get soup out of the deal.