I casually mentioned to a friend last week that I'd made my son waffles and bacon for breakfast that morning. I also casually mentioned that I'd done it a few days before, and a few days before that, and probably a few times the previous week as well. My older son does not have an adventuresome palate, so when his dad finds something the boy will eat that doesn't originate from exhaust-belching factory machinery with the words "VAT OF NUGGETS" on it, he sticks relentlessly with what works. So, sure, I said, waffles and bacon. Get some OJ, throw some fruit out there, breakfast of champions. Let's get this kid to third grade.
But my news seemed to come as a solid surprise, like, wait, you make him waffles and bacon? Every day? Sure, I replied, feeling really pretty jaunty about myself and my breakfast-related fathering, given all this sudden affirmation and everything.
Well, obviously, this was a bit of a communication breakdown. It took me a few minutes to realize she was talking about actual waffles and actual bacon, while I was talking about something different -- namely waffles that can be waffled in a toaster and come from Sam's Club in a box of 35,000, and precooked bacon that can be re-cooked in a microwave and come from Sam's Club in a box of 47,000.
"Ah!" I said, helpfully, trying to sort out the situation, "You're thinking real bacon!" This led to a fairly hilarious back-and-forth about what constituted bona fide bacon and what constituted poser bacon and whether one was superior to the other, because when it comes right down to it, in either case you're getting bacon, and at that moment your day is not that bad.
See, we have to do breakfast here this way, because His Highness does not like legitimate, actual, pig-borne bacon. Oh no. Strictly bacon-in-a-box, pre-made and hermetically sealed kind for the little prince. We've had many a hilarious morning conversation that goes something like this:
Son: "Can we have bacon?"
Son: "But not the soggy kind."
Me: "You mean not real bacon?"
Son: "Right. But I don't like it crispy either."
Me: "You don't like bacon soggy or crispy."
Me: "You want me to find a perfect medium that hits just the right amount of crackle."
Me: "You want me to go to the store, purchase a box of pre-cooked near-bacon at a price of $4 for 12 wax-paper thin slices, then microwave them according to your specific self-appointed crispiness requirements?"
Son: "Yes. I'm glad we had this talk."
Then I do it, because shortly after he was born I had the word SUCKER tattooed on my face (right above the script-letter version of my name, obviously).
There is maybe no more efficient way to sink your own parenting esteem in the eyes of a friend than reveal that the homey, golden-lit farmhouse-worthy breakfast routine you'd led them to believe was a regularity was really a matter of flopping some waffles in a toaster and nuking some fake-bacon that had previously been nuked, judging by its flimsy constitution, three million times. This led to some wild accusations about my assumed use of fake butter and corn syrup. To which I replied that the waffles MAY BE frozen -- MAY BE -- but the syrup was straight-up New York realness. Legit as it gets. Drained right out the tree. Took 39 years.
There is, of course, tremendous pressure upon you as a parent to feed your child, as often as possible, locally sourced compost-grown pesticide-free quinoa-based foods that have literally just fallen off of a plant or, in some cases, cow. And that is a good goal, and a goal that I aspire to as much as I can without being Gwyneth Paltrow, whom I'm pretty sure I'm not. But then again, the child must eat, and I'm pretty sure were there such a thing as a locally sourced waffle, my son would reject it on the grounds of, I don't know, over fluffiness or something. So for the time being we will have frozen waffles and fake bacon and make up the lost ground in other meals. Besides, this way I get the good bacon to myself.