Kid Food?

“Mom, do you remember the time you gave me a Hoodsie cup for breakfast?”

Crap. “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”

“Because that was yummy and fun. Can I have a Hoodsie for breakfast tomorrow?”

“No.”

“Well, I won’t eat anything else.”

And so began my night.

M is a very picky eater. I am a very picky eater. I created the monster. Lately, I’ve been trying my best to make something extremely kid-friendly for dinner and refusing to make something else if M turns her nose up at the meal. One meal, your choice: eat it or not. Not a popular new law for someone who has had the luxury of taste-testing every hot dog, chicken nugget, mac-n-cheese and pasta dish geared towards kids on a nightly basis for the last few years. I’m done with the catering. I’m not going to kid myself into believing she will suddenly love vegetables or unusual dishes (hell, I don’t love vegetables or unusual dishes) but when I make something fairly simple, I’m going to stop worrying if she won’t eat it.

I tried thinking about the foods I ate growing up. Like I said, I was extremely picky. I never ate salad or pasta sauce until I was an adult. I was that kid at the school pizza party whose mom paid a bit extra for a steak and cheese sub because I refused to try hated pizza sauce. I know where she gets it. My mom was great about cooking meals for the whole family that I would enjoy. We didn’t have hot dogs every night. We didn’t have pasta every night. She mixed it up, and everyone ate. Even me. Sure, there were times when she would make something that I would never touch – stuffed peppers? Really Mom? But I still didn’t get something else. If I didn’t eat that, I stayed at the table until everyone was done, and didn’t even consider asking for a snack later. Why am I finding this so hard? It’s probably because M is just a bit heavier than your average stick figure, and I don’t like seeing her skip a meal. I know, I know, if she’s hungry, she’ll eat.

This week, I decided to stick to my plan. One meal for everyone (modified, if possible for Abs’ allergies.) One night was baked ziti. Good response – everyone ate. My next meal? Shepherd’s Pie. I love Shepherd’s Pie – the way I ate it growing up. At home, at school, it was always the same: ground beef, corn and mashed potatoes. I could eat this for dessert. I never realized that people made it differently until I was an adult and saw it on a menu at my rehearsal dinner. Lamb? Carrots? Not in MY Shepherd’s Pie! It is made with 3 things that all kids should like. Kids who don’t like these ingredients are weird. I can say this because M refused to even look at her plate. My kid is weird. Who doesn’t like corn? Or, I should say, who refuses corn? Even if you don’t love corn, corn is not offensive, and mashed potatoes are just yummy. She wouldn’t even take a bite.

“M, why don’t you try it? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it, but I’d like you to try.”

“But, I don’t like meat.”

“Yes, you do. Do you know that chicken nuggets are meat? Hot dogs are meat, too.”

“I just don’t like this meat. I only like Ostrich.”

“Are you sure you like Ostrich?”

“Yes, I only like Ostrich.”

Pause.

“Mommy, what’s an Ostrich?”

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