Thursday, February 10, 2011

Irony of the Kid Label

When I started a new Kids category of recipes last year, I did it for myself. I was tired of staring into the refrigerator or at the menu planner and trying to think of "what can I cook that I don't have to fight my kids to eat?" I wanted a list of go-to recipes that we could rotate in and still try a few new things now and then. A meal without a headache is a beautiful thing.

This didn't use to be an issue for us. I had toddlers who ate almost everything. Somewhere along the line, my oldest son (maybe when he was 5 or so) started to get picky about what he would eat. We instituted the one bite rule that they had to try one bite of everything served to get some exposure without too big of a battle.

Over time he has gotten a bit more vocal about it, and introducing food allergies into the mix only made it more complicated. Over the past year I have served him some pretty disgusting stuff (many he did not have to eat because the only place it deserved to go was in the trash can).  And of course if big brother doesn't like something, that little brother tends to pick up on it. So now I have two more picky eaters (yes, they could be far worse than they are...)

This morning we hit a new low in the food adventure category that made me want to take the kid label off of every recipe. I felt like my son didn't like any of the foods that I gave him. This morning he refused to try a new popcorn chip. Yes a chip (and they are amazing and the bag is now empty). No, I don't normally feed my children chips for breakfast, but this morning I wanted him to sample them before I put them in his lunch. He had an all out fit over my audacity to ask him to try something new (even if it was a chip).

At 7:15, I really wasn't in the mood to discuss the benefits of a varied diet, the multiple taste exposure principle, etc. In fact, I was tired, emotional, and a lot frustrated. I had a bad attitude. I was quiet and snippy after that as we rushed to get to the bus stop on time. As he ran out the door, he popped his head back in and told me he was sorry for whatever it was that he had done to upset me, and darted off to the bus. It's amazing how conviction can come wrapped in such a simple act.

I was left in silence and near tears at his tender little heart. All I wanted to do was chase down the bus and pull him off so I could hug him and apologize, but that would have cause a lot of embarrassment for him and I'd have to apologize for that as well. So I sat there in silence and thanked God for my boy.

As I type this now, some 16 hours later, we've had time to talk through things and I got to apologize to him. I see how limited his food world is and his need to control what parts of it that he can. I understand that he is naturally fearful and hesitant. That's just who he is. I see that I was tired and at the end of my patience, and a 7:15 AM time slot is not the best time to experiment with him and new foods.

All that being said, I decided to keep the KIDS category. However, it comes with this disclaimer.
*All recipes labeled as kid friendly were enjoyed at one time by my children or someone else's child(ren). However, there is no guarantee that the next time I make it that they will enjoy it again, change their mind, or even want to try a bite of it.

Good night and good luck with your kids at the next meal time.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that! We are in that unfortunate stage as well. I find myself thinking "Really? Do you really not like this today? You loved it yesterday!"

    Case in point: We stopped at Papa Murphy's for Kate to choose her free kids pizza with a coupon from the dentist. The choices were cheese or pepperoni. She changed her mind about 10 times while the high school kid at the register stared at us and guess what? When we got home, it wasn't the "right kind" anymore. Lord help us all.


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