What’s for dinner?

I couldn’t decide what to write about today, trusting your instincts, decisiveness, cleaning… because I’m not even half way through my day and each of these topics have taken up considerable time in my brain. But while microwaving last night’s leftovers (Pei-Wei in case your were wondering), to make what I call lunch, the question of what to make for dinner popped in my head. It’s a simple question that no doubt everyone must grapple with at some point in their day, but as the mother of two very picky eaters, it elicits much more emotion. If you’re one of them, a MOPE, for short, (though I think you could probably just as easily substitute moron) than well, you know what I am talking about.

I like to cook. I like to try new recipes. I’m not going to pretend I am as adventurous as some people I know (you know I’m talking to you dear sis, shepherd’s pie) but I do eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. So, for all the nutritionists that talk about modeling, I could model until I’m blue in the face, my children, though, don’t care. I don’t know when everything went so wrong, but I know it started with number one and I do have some theories.

I was the mother who was only going to feed her child whole, organic foods. First son was going to have a sophisticated palate, except I hadn’t considered that it’s hard to develop a sophisticated palate when your eating baby food. And even though I had all these ambitions, it never occurred to me to feed number one son real food. My God, that would have been akin to abuse. No, every book I read told me to start with rice cereal at approximately four months olds (except for the militant breast feeding crowd who put it closer to six, I was borderline one of those too, but went with the four month thing) and then life would follow a nice neat progression, until one day you are feeding your child mushed up meat wondering why they won’t take a bite. I’m pretty convinced my child would have taken a bite of a nice piece of filet, but hey, you know what they say about hindsight. Which, if I could just digress for one moment, is what is so cool about having a third child, you’ve already screwed up one and two and have had a little time to reflect on it. So, when child number three is hungry you just push the plate of scallops in front of her and say, try these. I still haven’t given my older two seafood. Too afraid of allergic reaction, and no I’m not paranoid, number one son has some food allergies, but for number two, well, he’s just too far gone. I might as well slap a pile of poop in front of him and ask him to eat that, I would get the same reaction.

So, yes, if you haven’t guessed already, my two picky eaters, are boy one and boy two, and I’m not just talking, oh they won’t eat salad. Boy number two won’t eat any vegetables, unless we count letter tater tots, can we count them? Any fruit, unless it’s a banana or an apple, with not one stitch of skin on it, any eggs, any meat, hot dogs included, any sauce, salad dressing, condiment, unless it’s honey….oh, the list goes on and on. It’s easier to just say what he will eat, waffles, pasta (which I’m beginning to think he doesn’t even like), bread (no crust), peanut butter, and dry cereal, and I can’t forget the number one drink that he would live on if I would let him, Yo Baby yogurt drinks. Which are good for you and all, but he’s five, he can’t drink yogurt drinks as a sole source of nutrition. (In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell that the list I provided above isn’t exactly correct. Second son has never met a dessert he didn’t like, except for pie made with a traditional crust or any dessert involving fruit.)

Food has been an ongoing issue in our family for a long time with yours truly playing short order cook to ensure that everyone has something to eat. (I can hear the boos from here and I deserve them.)  I will be the first to admit that it is my fault, though not for lack of trying.  I just have a hard time sending my kids away hungry. And just so you know, I’ve tried all those deceptively delicious meals, and while my husband and I enjoyed them, the kids didn’t. Turns out that hiding vegetable doesn’t work if your kids aren’t willing to at least try the food they are hiding in.  After spending all that time cooking and pureeing, and then preparing the food, just to have no one eat it, it’s enough to make you crazy. You can’t force a kid to eat, or I’m sure I would have done it already.

Despite all that, I’m at it again. I am determined to get those boys eating more than  the same three foods everyday. My days of carrying around a box of pasta are over!  I am determined to get boy number two to eat a vegetable and a burger. I am committed to getting boy number one (who has made slow, but steady progress in the past year) to continue trying new things. And I am committed to making sure bossy girl continues to try anything and everything that is placed before her. Watching her eat is enough to make me weep from joy, that’s how bad things have gotten.

So what’s for dinner tonight? Good question. I keep searching for kid friendly recipes, trying new things, not too spicy, (though I notice no one has trouble eating Doritos), not too crispy, not too burnt, not too stinky, not too yucky…you get the picture. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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