A few weeks ago, I picked Rowena up from her first day of kindergarten. Her mood was positively effervescent after the long day. In the car, she opened her lunchbox to feast on the leftovers: two cherry tomatoes, a maple cookie, and string cheese.
"Rowena, eat one of the tomatoes before you eat anything else, okay?"
"But I don't like tomatoes."
"I know you don't. Eat it anyway, please."
"But it's yuckyyyyyyy!"
Cue the crying, gagging, slouching, and passive-aggressively pressing her feet against the back of the driver's seat. This behavior is not typical of Rowena. I knew that the combination of hunger and exhaustion brought out the vinegar from my special snowflake of a daughter, so I tried not to freak out.
As my car sped through the country roads past farms and fields, a familiar dairy-scent filled my nostrils. (There's really nothing like rotting cow feces on a hot September day.) I stopped the car. In the middle of the road. It is important to note that Rowena is extremely sensitive to smell. She loves to smell everything, from her food to flowers to clean laundry to crayons. You name it, she sniffs it. With my eye on my rear view mirror, (which remained clear during the duration of this adventure) I gave Rowena a look of doom and said in my most powerful Mom-God voice, "Do you smell that? We will sit here until you eat that tomato!" After another mini-freakout, Rowena saw that I was serious. She stuffed the tomato in her mouth and chewed vigorously with minimal heaving. "Swallow it," I said mercilessly. She swallowed the offending fruit and gave a sigh of relief. I moved the car forward, past the Pit of Eternal Stench, not without a feeling of Did I Just Do That?
My friend Joanna took this photo right before Rowena's first class.
Little did we know of the stinky adventure that awaited us that afternoon.