Raisins are generally good. They’re sweet, chewy, handy to throw in a bag. I can see why people like them; I’ve been known to eat them myself. I do not, however, understand Axel’s obsession with the raisin. He’d pick raisins over ice cream any day. If there were a raisin fan club, he’d run for president. If someone offered to fill a baby pool full of raisins, providing a sun-soaked opportunity to roll in dried fruit and gorge himself on their chewy goodness, he’d dive right in. He’d like nothing better than to be king of the land of raisins, sporting a cardboard crown adorned with sundried grapes.
The most accurate comparison to his love of raisins is a slightly unstable celebrity stalker’s feelings about his target. Raisins are perfection. They deserve all of the awards that dried fruit makers association can give out; they sure should’ve beat the sundried plum for snack of the year. He’d have all the California Raisins action figures, still pristine in the box. He would also woo the raisins’ publicist, in an attempt to get closer to the raisins, and threaten the raisins’ security team for keeping him at a distance from the object of his adoration. Then, eventually, the raisins would do something to shake his love for them – spend too much time with a pack of walnuts, or shrivel and dry up – and he’d turn all of his pent-up anger toward the raisins, tossing them to the ground and stomping on them.
So, he has a love/hate relationship with raisins. Usually, he loves them, marching around the kitchen, pointing at the cupboard and demanding ‘sins (his word for raisins). But sometimes, right after he demands the raisins, he screams at them – and anything else he may have been offered for a snack – and has a perplexing tantrum that seems to be triggered by the existence of raisins, or by the way I have delivered the raisins to him, or perhaps the refusal of raisins to do a little dance to “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” It makes no sense.
This is what it means to be a toddler. You love raisins. You hate raisins. You love raisins but you hate that you can’t have a neverending supply of raisins and thus every bite of raisin is tainted by the knowledge that it may be your last. And so you yell. About dried fruit.
As you might guess, Axel’s been exercising his free will a lot lately. He is free to demand more raisins. I am free to refuse to give them to him. He is free to scream and writhe on the kitchen floor. I am glad he’s got a healthy set of lungs and he’s expressing his independence I just wish that his desires matched up with my desires more often.
While monitoring the swine flu news, I’ve been reminding myself how lucky we all are to be healthy. I have found myself mumbling under my breath, “I am thankful I have a healthy child,” after the tenth demand for, yes, more dried fruit. It’s true. I am thankful for my health and the healthy of my son.
I am not, however, thankful for raisins. Raisins, and whatever addictive to toddlers chemical they’ve got in them, I could do without. Tantrums, also.
The raisin king disagrees.