It all began with my first born daughter. After struggling for six hellish weeks to master nursing her, we figured it out and things went along brilliantly. Quicker than I expected, she was walking and talking and experimenting with table foods (avocado being her favorite) and it was time to wean her. Unfortunately, she wasn't intrigued by cow's milk. Warm it up? Don't care. Pour it into a cup instead of a bottle? Won't touch it. Ugh, now what?
My pediatrician suggested Ovaltine. Yup, the very same drink Ralphie sucked down in the movie A Christmas Story in an attempt to gain enough points for a Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring. I was a little confused. Other than Ralphie, I didn't know anyone who actually drank Ovaltine. I remembered Tang - drink of the astronauts - but Ovaltine was a mystery to me. The doctor explained that breast milk is sweet compared to cow's milk and by adding a tablespoon of Ovaltine powder I could trick her and gradually decrease the amount of Ovaltine until she was drinking plain cow's milk. It worked like a charm!
Not only that, it was nutritious! Full of vitamins and minerals, the nutrition label pleased the new mommy in me to no end. My daughter now began every morning with a cup of warm milk spiked with a tablespoon of chocolatey Ovaltine. Yum!
Fast forward to my second daughter: we began our nursing relationship with no troubles at all, but like a pesky second child, she was determined to do everything earlier than her sister had. She walked earlier, talked earlier, climbed earlier, and weaned herself at twelve months old. Abruptly. No warning, just, "Mom, I'm done. No milk for me." Huh? Enter, Ovaltine.
Hit that ff button again and we're here in 2007. My youngest has just turned five and her first demand every morning is, "Ovaltine, please." No fooling her with just one tablespoon of powder, though. She's learned to read, remember? The label on the container reads Serving Size: 4 Tbsp. Every morning before she gets dressed, we fill a cup with milk and Ovaltine powder, put it in the microwave for one minute and she sucks it down in 28 seconds. Her lips touch the rim of the cup once and do not break contact until the last drop of this sweet, sweet nectar is gone. We repeat the ritual between 1:00pm and 2:00pm every afternoon. She endures teasing about the fact that it takes longer to make than it does for her to drink with a shrug and a smile. That's her process. My husband is sure she'll be the girl at the fraternity parties who can chug beer better than the boys and hopes he gets invited along with her. It's his gene pool that allows her to open up her throat and literally pour the liquid down, you see. My eldest daughter and I have no such skills. Nor do we want them.
I confess that I often wonder how long this addiction will remain with her. My oldest gave up Ovaltine long ago. Honestly, it is even a struggle to get her to empty a glass of milk at all these days. I waver between ignoring it as a benign issue and worrying that I ought to just stop buying the stuff at all. Maybe now that she gets an allowance I should let her buy it herself. Ya think?