A link and a grump
What is this feeling, so sudden and new?

Revenge

Well, I don't know about you but I'm about ready to toss this week in the garbage. There were a handful of bright spots, notably the smashing success that was preschool orientation and Phillip's birthday dinner and, hmm, I think I bought something on Etsy. But other than that it's been one mess of cranky, sassy, food-wasty, grumpypants. With a lot of comfort carb-loading in the evenings because dude, I deserve it. 

These days have been the kind of days where I'm totally doing okay, I really am, I am making dinner and using my pleasant Mommy voice and fulfilling twenty-seventh requests for snacks and drinks and toys and books and help with the potty. And I am doing those things EVEN THOUGH they're doing their whole Selectively Deaf charade and embarrassing me in front of friends and throwing freaky deaky tantrums in the car (MOLLY) and responding to my every instruction with "No! I just BLAH BLAH BLAH" (JACK) and people I should be on my second bottle of wine by 5pm not making dinner. 

BUT I DO. And I haven't been drinking the wine! (Partly because - news flash - the cheapest wine at the grocery store ($3.99!) tastes like pavement!) 

BUT THEN. Then! Each day has contained A Straw. The straws are USUALLY food-related, though not always. Yesterday's straw was when both kids asked for yogurt, then, when said yogurts were placed in front of them, stared at the yogurts as though they had never SEEN yogurt before, what IS this disgusting substance doing anywhere near them, do we need to call hazmat? The day before that had something to do with picking up toys. The day before that? Someone's insistence on "do it myself!" and whatever we were doing taking nine hundred years longer. I'm not - news flash - terribly patient. 

TODAY'S straw was when I attempted to implement the New Dinnertime Policy which I stole directly from the comments, lest anyone accuse me of ignoring the comments or not responding to them or, say, writing them myself under different accounts. AHEM. The New Dinnertime Policy is as follows: You Must Eat At Least One Of Everything On Your Plate. aka You Must Try Everything On Your Plate. aka You Must Have At Least One Bite Of Everything On Your Plate. HOWEVER IT GETS UNDERSTOOD. This satisfies 1) Phillip's compulsion desire that the children eat their vegetables and 2) my desperate prayer desire not to turn every meal into a "Just have one more bite of this!" "One more bite and you can do this!" "Eat this and you can have dessert!" "Let's have just one! more! bite!" AD NAUSEUM. 

So tonight I gave them ravioli, bread, watermelon and peas. Ravioli with RED sauce, I should say. Not as common as white sauce in our house, but I've had fairly good success with filled pasta (we call tortellini doughnut noodles, FYI) and Molly, at least, and if she's in The Right Mood, will eat almost anything. Oh! AND! I let them eat at the little table in front of the TV because 1) Phillip was out and therefore I am Allowed To Be Lazy and 2) they almost always eat better if they're watching TV. SUE ME. 

Molly takes one bite of ravioli, then decides she is no longer a fan, then sucks up the watermelon and peas (which are frozen, the preferred style) and the bread and demands more of each.

Jack sloooooooowly eats his bread. Then he sloooooooowly puts one ravioli on his fork, but the ravioli with the least amount of sauce. He does not touch the watermelon, which I know he at least likes. He does not go anywhere near the peas. Surprise! 

Fine, fine, but after a while I decide it's time to implement the At Least One Of Everything Rule and that means One Pea. ONE PEA. After multiple suggestions, some coaxing, some stern wording and finally a Time Out threat, Jack says, quite like he's referring to Disneyland, "I want to go sit in Time Out!" 

That was THE STRAW. 

Okay, so the end of the story is that I won, he eventually came back to the table and ate, get this, FIVE PEAS, but I had to go get the frozen ones because by this time his peas were "soft". And then at 8pm he ate all the leftover ravioli, but only with butter and cheese because he didn't want "ketchup". 

Which, okay, I hate it, it's so much work, it feels like everyone else's kid eats FOOD why won't my kid eat FOOD. And I look at Molly, who is getting pickier about eating, but in strange and varied ways, like the other night at my in-laws' she ate ONLY broccoli for dinner. And I give them the same food, the same amounts of food, etc. SO WHAT'S UP?

And then today, as I watched my kid eat his plain ravioli, sans ketchup, I thought about how my mother and grandmother would reserve a bowl of plain spaghetti for me before they smothered the rest with tomato sauce, and how I would dress my bowl with melted butter and Parmesan and how I did this until I was in college. How I never ate a tomato. How I was scared to move to Italy because all I knew about Italian food was tomato sauce. How totally grossed out I was when my dad forced us to go to a Chinese restaurant every summer. How salad meant lettuce and Ranch dressing. How much time I spent picking things like peas and carrots and other random green things out of whatever I was served. How I am still pretty picky - carrots, goat cheese, cilantro, onions, slimy seafood, and MOST tomato sauces are on My List - but how now I LOVE Chinese food and CRAVE dim sum and GROW vegetables in my YARD and not just for FUN. 

I remember sitting at the dinner table, age eleven, and my father informing my sisters and me that we would not be allowed to leave the table until we ate a green bean. One. Green. Bean. I believe I eventually swallowed mine with milk. I'm pretty sure one of my sisters sat at that table until it was time to go to bed. 

So I look at my kid and think, maybe I'm not necessarily doing it wrong, maybe there's no Answer. Maybe this is just what my dad meant when he said, in that menacing tone of his, that One Day I'd Have Children Of My Own. 

Comments

Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net

I used to swallow peas pill style and even still I would gag sometimes. Now that I'm a grownup I just don't eat them. I did grow out of most of my other food aversions though. My daughter is not too picky yet, but she's 17 months. If my pickiness is any indication, I'm in for a real battle.

Carrie

One of my friends with two kids close in age made a comment on her Facebook page this week about her kids not necessarily trying to kill her, but definitely taking years off her life. I responded that I was pretty sure that she was delusional, because most days I'm sure my kids actually are trying to do me in.

My coping mechanism- waiting until the husband gets home and then drinking the cheap wine :) Even the pavement-flavored stuff.

I'm just counting on the fact that I remember nothing of my early childhood and am hoping my kids won't either. Especially the crazy- mommy stuff.

Here's hoping your little ones start behaving better soon and magically eating everything that you put in front of them and getting along and doing all those other things that mommies dream of.

Until then, hugs to you.

Jessica

I did the same thing with pasta. Wouldn't touch the vile red sauce (which was actually plain tomato sauce instead of something fancy, because that way my sisters would eat it). I always had my spaghetti with butter and parmesan. I love "real" spaghetti now (with spices and meat and mushrooms!), but still eat it with butter and parmesan if I'm in desperate need of some comfort food. It's better than mashed potatoes!

lindsay

my mom made a plain version of whatever we were eating, for every meal we had until we were 18 yrs old, because my older bro gagged and spit food out on his plate otherwise. And I remember once he liked some food we were eating and I was like 'haha mom tricked youit has mushroom soup in it' and my mom got so pissed at me like 'why did you tell him???' as of course that was on his verboden list. anyway he eats sushi and chinese food and seafood now. So maybe just serve them plain whatever day in and day out for 20 yrs?

Dr. Maureen

Well let me just say that while you may FEEL like your kids are the only ones not eating, the truth is that NO ONE'S kids are eating. My in-laws think that Jack eats anything and everything with gusto, but that only happens at their house. At our house he nibbles a bit of this and a bit of that. He does eat pretty well, so it's easy for me not to push it and refrain from "one more bite! one more bite!" but he definitely is picky. And it's RANDOM pickiness! Things he ate and loved yesterday are disgusting today. Drives me bonkers because there are so few guaranteed dinners. Sigh. Oh, and he USED to eat everything, he just got picky as he aged. Which is normal, I think.

Oh oh oh. And I used to gag and spit things out and moan and groan through dinner too, and now I eat everything except Greek food. And I still hate broccoli, actually, but I'll choke it down sometimes.

Renata C.

Maggie, Maggie, this post is so funny! I'm sitting here reading and laughing and my kids start laughing like little copycats without even knowing what it's all about. It's the story of my life you just wrote!! Down to "no ketchup" and "I'd rather sit alone in my room than eat the crappy, stupid food you made for me" (well I paraphrased a bit, my son doesn't use that kind of language yet).

Now on the wine subject, I have a recommendation: Yellow Tail from Costco or Sam's Club. It's cheap but good. Pairs very well with 5 o'clock and whining and dinner making and "is your dad home yet". And whatever else they throw at you, by all means.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I have a new level of respect and admiration for my mother, because I was Super Picky (still am, though not quite as bad) and she must have wanted to kill me about 89% of the time.

It must be so, so frustrating... I know if I ever have kids, I'll at least understand WHY they are picky... But I am sure I will be INFURIATED by the refusal to try things. Because it's maddening. (Especially if you feed them something they have liked in the past! GAH.)

Shannon

My sister wouldn't eat vegetables...well, that's not true, she would usually eat raw cucumbers and raw carrots (guess what there was always a plate of on the table every single night...) and potatoes. I wasn't as picky as here - there were just a couple of things I didn't like. But we were good - she could hide things in the strangest places, without anyone ever noticing - behind the curtain in the living room for instance...and we ate dinner in the dining room. We also were lucky because our other sister would eat anything except bananas. So, if dinner was served and we were at the table before the grownups, she'd eat our squash or whatever right away so no one noticed. Or we'd hide them on our parents' plates if they were "smart" enough to put their plates out and go back to the kitchen.

Anyway, when she was 17, my vegetable hating sister came home and announced she was a vegetarian. We weren't sure what she was going to eat...up until then she was a meat and potatoes kind of kid. She's not a vegetarian anymore, but she eats pretty much very vegetable. The best was when she started eating veggies, she'd say to my mom, why didn't you make me eat before? My mom just laughed...*MAKE* her eat something...ha! She was stubborn!

So the point of my long rambling comment - it might get better, you never know! Jack might surprise you one day!

craftyashley

I am totally using the doughnut noodle line.
And I've had to let go of the need to sit there and insist the kids eat all their food. Like I said before, I give them the least likely thing they are to eat (aka: the most healthy) and I leave it be. I am DONE with the whining, the coaxing. Sometimes they go a whole meal with just one bite of the sandwich. I was surprised that there are times when the no-eater doesn't ask for more food an hour later. So whatever! But when she does, I remind her she only ate one bite of lunch and will have to wait for dinner or snacktime. The whining is annoying, but I'm learning to tune it out and not let it get to me. They are old enough to be making choices like eating or not eating, and suffer the consequences of a rumbly tummy. As long as I keep my tone chipper, they feel like I'm not being "mean" to them- it's just the facts.

Good luck!

HereWeGoAJen

Food is such a pain in the neck. Elizabeth just learned how to open the pantry (must get lock) and tried to get me to serve mixed nuts, cereal, cookies, and hot chocolate for dinner the other night.

It's weird though. There is this one Japanese restaurant we go to where we get the same thing each time. One night, she'll eat nothing but rice. The next time, she won't touch the rice and eats only shrimp. Last time she ate all the steak and chicken and nothing else. I don't get it. I tell myself that she is selecting her food based on what vitamins her body currently needs because that keeps me from losing my mind with confusion.

Elsha

I was SO picky as a kid, but food was never a fight at our house. You didn't have to eat anything you didn't want, but if you didn't want ANYTHING on the table you had to fix your own dinner. I remember my mom telling us every meal, "just eat what you want" when someone would announce that he/she was full with a plate full of food still sitting in front of them.

I remember feeling SO sorry for my friends who had the "try everything" or "eat everything on your plate" policy. Because I was SURE I could never live like that.

So far I've taken my mom's approach. Partly because I'm too lazy to fight about it. But also because I really appreciated it growing up. (Okay, I probably appreciate it more in hindsight.)

Janey

I was not a picky eater, but was usually the last one left at the table because I ate soooo much. That is except for three foods: creamed corn, beets, and yams (when your family is from the south these foods are important). I once told my mom that if she made me take a bite of yam, I would throw up. This made her angry and even more insistant that I take a bite...well...I did throw up. I never understood why this made her even MORE angry, as if I would throw up on purpose! I totally like yams now, but it took over 20 years. I still hate the other two. Oh, and peanut looked me directly in the eyes last night as she turned her full plate upside down on the table and demanded that I bring her more mangos after I told her that she couldn't have any more fruit untill she ate her rice and dumplings (food she likes).

Christiana

We do the one bite of everything on her plate thing and it usually works, but it took awhile. And nothing after dinner if she doesn't eat her dinner because she's "not hungry." (she can have her plate back, but that's the best she can get.) But yeah - toddlers are weird. She LOVES certain foods, but right now the only thing I can guarantee she will eat is grapes. She loves noodles, but won't always eat them. She loves crackers, but won't always eat them. Etc. Ad nauseum.

Jennifer H

Little kids and food is so hard. We have had striking success with just letting go of control. We just acknowledged that our 3 year old is the one in ultimate control of everything that goes into his body (and everything that comes out - but that is another comment). We don't fight about it, he actually eats better (when I'm paying attention, which I actually try not to do...) There are two snacks a day, and mommy is in charge of the portion sizes, because he would eat crackers all day long if he could. I load up his plate at mealtimes, and he eats what he wants. He is not starving - yet.

Sonya in San Antonio

Maggie, this cracked me up, particularly your dad's ominous statement! :) I was totally a picky eater and still am, but I've broadened my horizons a lot since I was a kid. I didn't eat PIZZA or any seafood until I was a teenager! I only started eating some Asian food in the last 10 years! I still order everything without vegetables and pick green and red stuff out of food (although I love salsa...my food rules are totally weird and somewhat contradictory). Anyway. My daughter who just turned two seems totally opposite to me thus far. She eats almost everything we put in front of her--lots of good healthy veggies and fruit, and any and all kinds of cheese and bread (total carb-loader). She doesn't eat too much meat, and she does turn stuff down occasionally (tonight she didn't want the squash I ordered as a side to her meal), but in general her appetite is SO healthy it's a problem! Her weight is in the 89th percentile and the pediatrician is always on me about making sure she's eating appropriate portions and not overfeeding her--but she can sometimes eat me and/or my husband under the table LOL! And it's hard to turn her down when she wants more, because she looks at us all cute and says "Pease!" (Please!) I honestly wish she was a little pickier just so she wouldn't eat so much! It's a strange problem to have. And embarrassing when we are over at someone's house for a party and she finishes her food and then seizes upon half-finished plates people have set down and starts eating off of them! As if we DON'T feed her!

The Sojourner

Just sympathy from one of the token childless readers here.

My dad will be 48 later this month and he still has a whole host of foods he won't eat. Weird stuff, too. Like chicken noodle soup. Who doesn't like chicken noddle soup? (Somebody who doesn't like cooked vegetables in general, that's who.) He tells, with pride, the story of the day his mother tried to get him to eat canned spinach and he threw up. His Bullwinkle tie was permanently ruined (a great tragedy for a kid of my dad's era), but he won and never had to eat anything he didn't want to again.

My sister won the battle for us before I was old enough to think about it. Mom told her that she couldn't have anything until she ate __ (Mom doesn't even remember what vile food this was), so she went without food for a day and a half and passed out at recess. After that Mom said we could have cereal or peanut butter if we didn't like what was served.

I was the buttered pasta kid too, but I didn't (don't?) even like Parmesan. I would (and will) eat a tomato whole like an apple, but I'm really leery of processed tomato products. Once when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old we were having meatloaf and my mom asked if I wanted ketchup. I said yes, so she squirted ketchup on top of my meatloaf, and I burst into tears. She couldn't figure out what my problem was and I couldn't stop crying enough to tell her, so I got sent to my room. While in there I got out a piece of paper and a pencil and drew a picture, which I showed to my mom when she came to get me. "See, Mommy, here are the green beans and the mashed potatoes [with no gravy, natch], and here's the meatloaf with the ketchup ON THE SIDE." She was not impressed by my artistic endeavors, and I didn't eat meatloaf at all for years out of fear someone would put ketchup on it.

I'm 20 years old now and I LOVE meatloaf and anything Italian; just recently I've started trying Chinese. So, you know, there's hope.

E.

No, there is no answer! The food issues in our house drive me crazy (especially since I love pretty much everything but can't eat half of it due to food sensitivities, so I'm frequently banging around my kitchen muttering about the ingrates I have to feed). So, umm, all that to say, good luck! (But stick to your guns on the at least one bite rule -- kids do need to eat vegetables).

april

I can only chime in that I'm there too (my two-year old hid his tomato in his napkin tonight - how do they learn this stuff??) and also say that I'm on Target box wine, which is excellent every day wine. It's $11.99 for a box which is the equivalent of two bottles, and it has a push spout so it stays fresh for 4 weeks. Not that it would last that long, but anyhow. I never in a million years thought I would turn to box wine, but this stuff wins awards! It's not special, but definitely drink worthy.

el-e-e

Food battles, my ARCHNEMESIS.

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