Not quite break­fast club

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

My hus­band and I are pretty sim­patico.

His cool de­meanor bal­ances out my high-strung ten­den­cies; my in­cli­na­tion to save rather than spend helps keep a roof over our heads. We both know very lit­tle about sports, like read­ing in bed and pre­fer mush­rooms on our pizza. Trav­el­ing is fun, but so is com­ing home. We’re early risers. Both love the “Die Hard” fran­chise. Are ad­dicted to flea mar­kets. Can’t stop tak­ing pic­tures of our kids.

There’s one dis­agree­ment, how­ever, that rages like a ba­con grease-fu­eled in­ferno be­tween us.

Spencer loves break­fast. I do not.

Grow­ing up, my dis­like of most stan­dard break­fast items was a chal­lenge to my par­ents. Tasked with get­ting us ready for school each day, Dad would for­mally “take re­quests” as though my sis­ter and I had stum­bled into a swanky restau­rant in our footie pa­ja­mas. What­ever non­sen­si­cal thing we’d come up with (jelly beans! roast beef!), I knew we were get­ting Eggo toaster waf­fles.

I didn’t re­ally want to eat any­thing. Eat­ing be­fore lunchtime felt strange to me. But Dad wouldn’t send us off on empty stom­achs. I’d suf­fer through the waf­fle, re­quest­ing both but­ter and syrup . . . and sam­ple a bite or two. Then, with Dad back in the kitchen, I’d tip­toe over to push the rest onto my sis­ter’s plate. What? That was shar­ing. I’ve found a few break­fast dishes I like over the years, but would still take a sand­wich over an omelet any day. De­spite be­ing the fur­thest thing from a picky eater when it comes to lunch, din­ner, post-din­ner, dessert, post-dessert dessert . . . well, break­fast and I just don’t jive.

I don’t like eggs — no mat­ter how they’re cooked. Scram­bled is slightly pass­able, but that’s not say­ing much. This works well with Spencer, who gladly takes them off my hands. So maybe that’s sim­patico, too?

We don’t of­ten fix eggs at home, but we do make pan­cakes. Spence gets the skil­let out on Sun­day morn­ings, try­ing new ver­sions with what­ever in­gre­di­ents we have on hand. I won’t ar­gue their awe­some­ness. I mean, they’re hot car­bo­hy­drates: easily my fa­vorite kind.

But I just . . . don’t re­ally care for ba­con. Or any break­fast meat, re­ally. Too rich and fatty. I had a bad in­ter­ac­tion with some sausage links at an eighth-grade sleep­over about, oh, 20 years ago, and darn if that didn’t trau­ma­tize me for life. (Se­ri­ously.)

I can do French toast be­cause it falls un­der the “hot carb” cat­e­gory. But it’s not a re­al­is­tic op­tion dur­ing the week, and cer­tainly not diet-friendly. If I’m go­ing to im­me­di­ately blow my daily calo­ries on some­thing warm, sug­ary and fat­ten­ing, I want fun­nel cake.

My break­fast an­tipa­thy did re­lax dur­ing my preg­nan­cies — mostly out of ne­ces­sity. I was so nau­seous with both Oliver and Hadley that I had to eat be­fore even get­ting out of bed. I kept Ritz crack­ers and gra­nola bars, wa­ter and al­monds on my night­stand. An empty stom­ach is a sick stom­ach.

To be fair, all that snack­ing wasn’t ex­actly a hard­ship. Eat­ing an ac­tual break­fast was. When I was ex­pect­ing my first child, I could still sit down to a re­lax­ing meal be­fore work. I ate ce­real with low-fat milk, Greek yo­gurt, fresh fruit. The oc­ca­sional cup of cof­fee, which I would track in an app (!) to make sure I didn’t ex­ceed the max­i­mum rec­om­mended daily amount of caf­feine for preg­nant women.

With the sec­ond? Well, with 18-month-old Oliver run­ning amok, I was too ex­hausted to do much more than shove half of his left­over Pop-Tart in my mouth as we were walk­ing to the car. I would stash other items in my bag for later, then grab a drink — usu­ally cold cof­fee, much-needed from be­ing up half the night with the lit­tlest in­som­niac in our house.

I do dig deep for some break­fast en­thu­si­asm when my hus­band sug­gests go­ing out on the week­end. The lo­gis­tics with two kids are com­pli­cated, but that’s not even what wor­ries me most. I hate crowds, so join­ing the 1,000 other peo­ple want­ing waf­fles is not my idea of fun — par­tic­u­larly when we’re on bor­rowed time with the chil­dren.

But mar­riage is all about com­pro­mise. Given how har­ried we all feel dur­ing the work week, go­ing out for a leisurely break­fast feels in­dul­gent. That’s why I go along with Spence’s break­fast sug­ges­tions: he’s typ­i­cally out the door be­fore the kids even wake up, so Satur­day or Sun­day pan­cakes are a chance to chat and re­lax to­gether.

Last week­end we found our­selves at an old but new-to-me diner — quite the ac­com­plish­ment for a born-and-raised South­ern Mary­lan­der. It’s pretty old-school, quaint and un­pre­ten­tious, with sticky ta­bles that man­age to be en­dear­ing in­stead of alarm­ing.

Oliver sat in a booster seat in­stead of a high chair — a first — and we or­dered him sil­ver-dol­lar pan­cakes. He is fi­nally feed­ing him­self with an in­sis­tent “I do,” and that lit­tle guy hold­ing a big fork broke my heart a lit­tle.

As with any time we’re out in pub­lic, I was still tense wait­ing for one or both chil­dren to lose it. An im­pec­ca­bly-dressed fa­ther and son were seated next to us, and I was aware of Hadley drool­ing on my shoul­der as she stared at them like a ma­niac dur­ing their se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tion.

But she didn’t cry. Mirac­u­lously, we got through break­fast with­out dis­turb­ing any­one. The place was fill­ing up as we left, and our booth was a hot com­mod­ity. Spence and I high-fived back at the car: we’d done it.

With two un­pre­dictable chil­dren, we usu­ally eat at home. Safer, cheaper, less stress­ful. Spence pre­pares the week­end pan­cakes-and-ba­con feast af­ter I’ve done most of the heavy din­ner­time lift­ing Mon­day through Fri­day, so that’s a treat as well.

I look for­ward to it — and to Ol­lie’s ex­cite­ment as we all gather at the kitchen ta­ble. Spence makes him his own short stack. He’s re­ally talk­ing now, chat­ter­ing non­stop, and I of­ten look over at the maple syrup drip­ping down his chin and think: you can’t buy that with a mil­lion dol­lars. And it’s true.

My grandma says this of­ten — a re­minder of our bless­ings even when life feels hard.

Good thing we have carbs to help us cope.

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