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  • Kristan Higgins

Still waters

I have a somewhat odd affectation, readers. I can’t really drink water that doesn’t have some kind of flavor. I need…infused water. It sounds so stupidly posh, doesn't it? And yet, in my fridge, I always have a pitcher of water with cucumber slices, or orange slices, or lemon wedges. Sometimes a combination, even. This allows me to hydrate properly, because otherwise, I hate water. I know. It’s weird. A swimming teacher threw me in a pool when I was four, and I sank like a rock. Let’s blame her.


For most of my youth, I drank either whole milk, Pepsi or some other Pepsi product. My grandfather had stock in Pepsi, so nutrition be damned. He had 28 grandchildren, and we were going to pay off one way or another. Besides, drinking water wasn’t as on trend as it is now, with youths carrying enormous yetis. I mean, in my day, you went to the water fountain, and hopefully a bully wouldn’t push your head down, resulting in a chipped tooth. There was a short periods of time when I unwittingly drank raw goat's milk, but that's a blog for another time.


Then, when I was preggers all those years ago, the doctor said I had to drink 64 ounces of water a day. At least 64 ounces. And, in the way that all mothers sacrifice for their children (that’s right, Princess and Dearest), I forced water down my throat, trying not to gag. Pre-pregnancy, I drank coffee and wine. I saw no reason to drink anything else. Ten or so cups of coffee throughout the day, a glass of wine at night, like a normal person.


Pregnant, though, I had to buckle down. Many, many times a day, I would glug and slurp to hydrate my little parasites. It was a battle of will—my determination vs. my revulsion of drinking water. I’d count the swallows…five, six, seven, eight, done! Finally! For the children.


Then came my seltzer water decade or so, when I found a work-around for the irritating hydration problem. Seltzer was flavored and fizzy and didn’t cause the same issues plain old water did. Then a friend told me that seltzer water was bad for bone density. It’s not, but I believed her at the time. With a heavy heart, I was forced back to plain water. And then…then I went to a spa, and they had this magical contraption called a water infuser. “Cucumber water?” the reception asked. I accepted. It was delicious.


Since then, that’s what I drink. I love water now. But it has to have something in it. It can be almost anything…the aforementioned citrus slices, cucumber, celery, parsley, raspberries, etc.

No one else in our family likes my water. I feel rejected by this. I always offer them some from my beautiful pitcher, and they always choose regular water. Recently, I learned they mock me behind my back for my water preferences. “It’s pretentious,” they said. “Regular water is fine.” When I explain my gagging response to regular water, they wave me off, saying, “Yeah, yeah, heard it before.” I sigh and mutter about what well-hydrated fetuses they were, now turned into ungrateful, snarky adults.


HOWEVER, my grandson came over the other day. In front of everyone, he spied my water glass, filled with cucumber water. He picked it up and chugged it like a little frat boy. “Finally!” I said. “Someone likes my water! Thank you, sweetheart!” I knew having grandchildren would be awesome.

Then, the child set the water glass down and exclaimed, “Nana water yuck!” His mother and grandfather cried with laughter.


Betrayed, readers! Betrayed. My daughter promptly called her brother to say they had another ally in the mockery of their mother’s pretentious taste in water. Dearest was so delighted and they shared evil snickers over the toddler's affirmation of their opinion. “Hey!” I said. “I’ve told you why—”


“Oh, come on, Mommy,” she said. “We have to make fun of you for something.”


I was mollified. I guess it’s better than making fun of me for my weird-looking feet or lack of physical grace. Now, when the Peeper goes for my glass, I say, “No, honey, that’s Nana’s yucky water,” and he pivots and heads for someone else’s glass. My water may be infused, but it’s not infused with drool.


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