My Public Apology to the Banana

Dear Banana,

You are an ideal fruit, from what I'm told. You replenish electrolytes. You contain three natural sugars for a quick energy boost. You're easy to serve, what with your handy peel and all. Your attractive shade of yellow makes it abundantly clear when you're not-nearly-ripe, not-quite-ripe, perfectly ripe, time-for-banana-nut-bread-ripe, and whoa-Nelly-how'd-this-banana-hide-in-the-bottom-of-the-fruit-bowl-this-long?-ripe.

I'm sorry I went years without buying or eating one of you.

But, you see, it's not really my fault. It's my toddler daughter's fault. Really. Her wild-abandonment-passion for you necessitating a daily (or more often) serving of bananas just at the age when all meals required bite-size-chopping followed by pincer-gripping, smearing, mushing, shampooing, nostril-stuffing, etc of all foodstuffs did me in. Well, all that aromatic and slimy banana drama coupled with the oversensitive nasal passages of my pregnant body ... it did me in.

So, there you are ... equal blame between my two kids. Not really my fault at all. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Still, I'm sorry.

Starting in the first trimester of my second pregnancy (say, Thanksgiving 2000), I could no longer stand the smell of you. You were everywhere, in every orifice, skin fold, crevice, pore of my tiny daughter's body. Every day. Sometimes twice. You were slimier than the nastiest diaper change, the gooey-est used tissue. It got to the point where I had to pinch my nose shut with one hand, wrestle my fortunately-light toddler out of her high chair with one hand and whisk her squirming, you-slippery body right into the bathtub; stripping her naked and rinsing her off all one-handed. Otherwise ... the gagging, the ineffectual retching, the nausea for hours. Not fun.

I expect the phase to pass, but it didn't. In fact, it got bad enough that I just couldn't do it any more. Just the act of pulling one of you off the bunch and starting to peel you would unleash a Pavlovian gag reflex of anticipation. Eventually, all banana-related activities fell firmly into a paternal jurisdiction.

Even after the baby was born, I still couldn't approach you. I was just starting to think of a mind-over-matter approach to getting over this phobia when my second-born entered the gross-out phase of eating and the whole thing started all over again.

By the time my baby had turned three and mastered some level of cutlery control, I decided that enough was indeed enough. It was time to re-introduce bananas into my life. But, I tell you, banana, it was rough.

I had to start with that most-wonderful-yet-not-terribly-authentic banana treat ... banana-pudding-in-a-Nilla-wafer-crust pie. YUM! I thought I was on a roll. But, nope....still couldn't tolerate peeling the real thing without a gorge-rising reaction. sigh and Grrr...

Baby steps. Three baby steps forward and two baby steps back. Over and over again.

It took time. Years, in fact. Eventually I could eat an actual banana. Just did today, in fact. You're pretty yummy. But there's still a moment, a pause, a doubt each and every time, "Can I do this?"

I'm sorry, banana. You have many wonderful qualities, but you're just never gonna hold that special place in the fruit bowl of my heart any more.

A-peel-ing to your better nature (oh so uncalled for....),

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