Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stinky Pee Plant!

We had asparagus with dinner the other night. Ally loved it last year, but it had been months since she'd eaten any and I was holding my breath that she would still like it. Sometimes her tastes change and one food she disliked earlier will be her new favorite, while an old favorite food may be pronounced inexplicably as the dreaded "yucky." As luck would have it, Ally was delighted to have asparagus again and immediately announced that it looked like bamboo and she was now a panda bear for the rest of dinner.

We're very fortunate that Ally has a distinct fondness for many vegetables and will sometimes eat her weight in broccoli without any sauce on it. In addition to broccoli and asparagus, she also likes sweet potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, tomatoes, and okra. She tends to be less enthusiastic about carrots and will draw the line at pumpkin unless it's in the guise of pie or cake. (You parents of picky eaters, please don't hate us.)

But back to the asparagus. About a half hour after dinner Ally went to the restroom and discovered that her pee stank. She was far less aware of this unique side effect of eating asparagus last year, but at 4.5 years old, she's an observer of many different things. I thought this might be something that turned her against asparagus, but no, she seemed positively amazed by this. We explained to her that our bodies break down the asparagus into some pretty stinky compounds which then show up in our pee. You eat asparagus, you get stinky pee.

Poking around on Wikipedia today I found a mention of a recent genetic study that indicated that not everyone can detect the odor of "asparagus pee," even though the production of post-asparagus stinky pee appears to be a universal human trait. So the next time the subject of stinky pee comes up, I can explain to Ally that you eat asparagus, you get stinky pee, but not everyone can smell it.

I can't wait to hear from Ally's teacher when this discussion inevitably comes up in her classroom.


Dr. T & the munchkins said...

Isn't it interesting what factoids we uncover with our kids' observations and questions! Thank goodness we have the Google :)

Tree Dellinger said...

Honestly, I must use Wikipedia and Google daily to look up one thing or another. And when I'm doing insect IDs at work? We have tons of references but often we just "Google it."