Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mama's law

I have to admit that with Sister I've always felt a tad smug when it came to her eating habits. From a very early age, that child preferred--and could pronounce!--aged Manchego over any other cheese. I once fried up a couple of chicken livers that were stuffed inside a whole chicken I'd bought to roast as a little snack. I cut off a piece of one for her to try, not expecting anything, and was shocked when she asked for more. She's a foodie mama's delight and always has been. But when it comes to food, Bean appears to be her own girl.

Tonight I made miso-glazed salmon, brown rice, and sauteed snow peas for dinner, expecting that Bean would chow on the rice and have a few experimental bites of the fish and the peas. What she actually ate was nothing. Not one single bite. She clamored for juice for the first 5 minutes and when Husband looked like he was going to cave I said firmly, "No juice with dinner. We have milk." She began screaming for most of the rest of the next half hour. I ate my damn dinner while Husband gave her a few time-outs and fielded her pleas for dessert. (Husband created the toddler-dessert monster, not me.) At one point, Husband had a spoon of rice and fish in his hand and was on his knees in front of the high chair, calmly trying to get her to equate taking a bite with permission to get down, which she was begging to do at that point.

I don't remember food battles with my mom, and I really don't recall if my mom was such a bitch about eating that I wouldn't dare, or if I really was fine with eating everything (except nasty baked beans--ack!). Husband, however, is famous in his family for never eating a single vegetable til he was in college and began cooking for himself. His mother used to sneak vegetables into things in the hopes that he wouldn't notice. (He always did, according to them both.) He's used to food battles, I think, and used to the cajolery and the bribing that some schools of parenting accept as just a normal part of getting a kid to eat. Not me.

I have a good friend whose picky kid has pretty much always been given her own separate dinner from what she and her husband ate. This child is now 9 years old and is still eating this way. I asked myself tonight if it would really be so much trouble to just give Bean something besides what was in front of her, maybe some applesauce and some cottage cheese. The answer is yes. Yes, it would really be a lot of trouble. Bean would come to expect that she could always eat whatever she wanted, regardless of what I was cooking for dinner. You know what? I'm not doing it. Everyone in this house eats what I give them or they just won't eat.

And you won't find me on my knees begging.


Undercover Angel said...

I was a picky eater as a child, and in a lot of ways I guess I still am. The only vegetables I eat are peas, corn and potatoes.

Beth said...

my kids were never picky as little ones, they would eat all kinds of stuff that they refuse to eat now! I never had the battles.

But NOW, well, that's a different story. One son will only eat ramen noodles...but I can say that he is trying to eat more stuff. the other two are bottomless pits and will inhale the whole fridge.

they eat what I make or have cereal in my house. that's it!

Nikkie said...

I feel the same way, and I was a picky eater as a child. I know that I would never bend for my parents. So far my little guy is not picky at all when it comes to food, so no battles yet. We'll see though. I'm not sure how stubborn I can be like that when I was picky!

Steven Novak said...

Seperate dinners?

That's sheer madness.

What's next, fish that fly and birds that breathe through gills? ;)


Mama D said...

Go Sugarmama! I agree. My niece is terribly picky and it makes my skin crawl when I listen to her proclaiming "I don't want this and I don't want that."

I have been lucky with A she seems to enjoy almost everything. She ate part of a smoked oyster at Christmas!!

I think you are doing the right thing. Sure there will be some meals that Bean may not enjoy as much as others but she can try.

Amber said...

Go SM! I've always been a stubborn feeder. You eat what we're having or don't eat at all. I regularly say, 'you know why you're hungry now? It's because you only ate X instead of eating xyz at dinner!'

I just spent a week with my SIL's and her son eats 3 things that are healthy. Her daughter even less. Every meal starts out with at least three different meals. Not in my house! (we discussed this though and decided that every kid has an annoying thing. Her's don't eat- mine don't use the potty consistantly.)