Wishing to eat chocolate every day is never a bad wish. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: Working off our daily bread

“We could have to be at home long enough that we’ll outgrow our clothes!”

It had been inching closer to the end of March, a week or two into the new reality of staying at home, when my husband turned to me one evening and said quite sincerely, “We could have to be at home long enough that the kids will outgrow their clothes.”

I paused, and thought about it. At the rate kids tend to grow, he was right. It wasn’t something to worry about, though. I reminded him that my son has a grow-into collection that rivals a department store thanks to my best friend’s hand-me-downs. My daughter doesn’t have the same bounty, but in a pinch, she could wear my son’s clothes and it’s not like we are locked inside with no chance at all to get to a store or order online. They’re covered. Literally and figuratively.

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” I replied. “We could have to be at home long enough that we’ll outgrow our clothes!”

It’s funny because it’s true.

I’d never made bread other than banana bread before this pandemic began. (Actually that’s not true. I did write an entire series about growing my own wheat in 2009 with my friends Brock and Heather McLeod, who at the time ran Makaria Farm and the Island Grains Project, and that effort ended up with me making one very ugly loaf of bread. I made it in a bread maker, though, so I guess that’s why I don’t feel like it truly counts.)

Anyway, fast-forward to present day and my daughter and I now have a sourdough starter dubbed “Wheaty” and we’ve made enough bread and pizza dough from scratch that we’re actually starting to feel reasonably confident about it. The trouble with fresh bread, though, is that it doesn’t last. My family has been known to eat an entire loaf right out of the oven — plus half a stick of butter — before the bread has even had time to cool.

(By the way, I don’t really know how I should feel when my kid considers Wheaty to be our pet but is also totally cool with us eating a cup of it every time we bake bread? Is this how farm kids feel about their “pet” chickens?)

Back to my conversation with my husband.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing we’ve got elastic waistbands and don’t have to go in public much because the reality is maybe our clothes have become a little less roomy if you know what I mean. Easter did just happen and the wonderful/cursed thing about our children is they tend to forget about things like Easter eggs because the fun really is had in the hunt and not so much in the consumption of all the chocolate.

Although, I did take the kids for a walk the other day to do a scavenger hunt on our neighbourhood trail. It was an assignment for Kindergarten. My son had been instructed to find a dandelion weed and blow a wish. Naturally, he took that to mean he should find as many little puffy white weed balls as humanly possible and wish on all of them.

One such wish, I overheard him whisper, was to eat chocolate every day.

It was a good wish, and the pedestrian (who passed us a solid three metres away, at least) agreed. Unfortunately I’m not sure I can fulfill that wish though because the little foil wrapped eggs have been amalgamated with Mom’s freezer chocolate stash — never to see the light of day again, quite literally, because the adults crack into them after the children have gone to bed.

So yeah, tight pants are a total possibility. But, to paraphrase the words of the great ninja Master Wu (Lego Ninjago, season 9, episode 4): “We’re only confined by the walls we build ourselves.”

I mean, who wouldn’t take advice from a cartoon Lego sensei? We’ve decided to break down some of those walls that we’ve run into while staying safe at home. We eat Wheaty a little less now. Also, in addition to my morning walks, I’ve set up my gym equipment in the garage and try to get a workout in every day, usually with my four-year-old, because she’s super keen.

And even my husband heads out for a walk after dark. I imagine he’s not the only one out there at that hour giving thanks for quiet streets and elastic waistbands.


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