Veggie Babies

July 2, 2024


Week 28: Your baby is about the size of a large eggplant.

The day before Steve and I heard the news about the new baby, the big bros were already in on the secret. To their credit, they kept mum. But Peter was bursting to give me a hint, so he came into my office and said that they had a surprise, and they’d tell us later. I asked how big the surprise was. Peter responded, “The surprise is the size of an avocado!”

Turn out, he was absolutely correct. At 17 weeks, the baby was indeed avocado-sized. How do we know? Well, Ya-Jhu has an app comparing the size of our Bouncing Baby Grandson #3 with increasingly-sized veggies and fruits as the weeks of her pregnancy continue (a bean, a red pepper, now he’s an eggplant). Though I guess you could use any random measuring device (Your baby is about the size of a ping pong ball), it is very fitting that Mama Yaj is making use of a produce-centered one. 

Since Ya-Jhu's arrival in our lives, we have been served, and consumed, probably twice the amount of vegetables, and definitely ten times the fresh fruit, than I’d ever thought of offering when my kids were small. As a result, Aiden and Peter clamor for healthy after school snacks of fresh cherries, mango spears, and watermelon wedges.

Even though my five children’s afternoon munchies may not have been quite as nutritious as my grandsons’ are (we went through MANY a box of Honey Nut Cheerios), I console myself that at least my gang ate a decent amount of both fruits and vegetables each day—and easily 100X more than I’d eaten as a young child.

I’m amazed my sisters and I did not end up with scurvy, rickets and other diseases of medieval malnutrition! True, we did have many cavities, thanks to regular consumption of Ring Dings, Yodels, Ding Dongs, and Twinkies (the manufacturers didn’t even pretend their junk food was anything BUT junky—those ridiculous names made that perfectly clear.)

When I took over the kitchen at age 10, my dessert-making skills were the first to develop, followed by meats. From my experience, peas and carrots (and, horrors! spinach) came in cans, or frozen in bags, but honestly Mom rarely bothered to serve anything like that, except perhaps at holiday time. 

Learning to properly prepare foods like salads and asparagus, I finally discovered their deliciousness, but the sugar-coated habits of a lifetime stuck with me. Even now, when Sheridan and Ya-Jhu bring out bowls of strawberries after dinner, my first thought is always, “I guess they didn’t notice the carton of fudge ripple in the freezer!”

My offspring grew to be very healthy eaters, and Julie is even a vegetarian. I have no doubt that the excellent produce they love will serve my grandsons (my veggie babies) well, all their lives. And while I do try, it’s probably too late for me to PREFER broccoli over Almond Joys. But that’s OK.

At least the candy bars have nutritious nuts in them.


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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