Food fight!

I believe it’s impossible to bring up the topic of kids + food with parents without getting some level of opinion. From sneaking fruits & veggies into their diets, to allowing them to eat deep-fried chicken-whatever-a-nugget-is… we’ve all struggled. 

Most food-issues with kids, like much of parenthood, is a trial/error situation. I’ve witnessed my children eating salad at age 2, sushi at age 4… hell, I just enjoyed tasting a variety of olive oil with my 7yo a few weeks ago. However, both of my kids could turn around the next day and throw a major fit over being served the exact same food they supposedly loved the day before.  

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Recently, while the hubs was out of state for the week, my neighbor (who also has a 7yo) invited the 3 of us over for dinner. I asked if I could bring anything, and made my awesome brie wrap (mainly for the adults to nibble on while we caught up) My 7yo neighbor was excited to try it and immediately made a face, saying, and I quote “Ugh, this tastes like the car wash!!” Her mother was mortified, wondering how in the world she ever tasted a car wash, but I about died laughing! Hey, even I have accepted that brie is not for everyone. 

For the main entree, my neighbor made jambalaya with shrimp & pork that was super yummy.

My kids saw it & threw a fit.

Not just any fit mind you, the tantrum to end all tantrums.

I don’t know if their friend’s response to my brie wrap gave them permission or what, but it pissed me off! I tried to remain as calm as possible, threatening to leave unless they took a bite, or at least ate something else on their plates.

My neighbor started to get upset too, yelling at my oldest to stop screaming at me like she was. Ugh. It was so uncomfortable. So glad I brought a couple of beers, because wow. I needed them desperately.

After about 5 minutes, my youngest happily accepted a salad with ranch dressing. Yes, I had to make it for her, but I totally took it. After a painfully long 20 minutes, my oldest finally gave in and took a reluctant bite after her friend convinced her how yummy the shrimp was. She claimed to hate it, but then she took another bite… and another… until she had eaten about 3/4 of it. 

Yeah, she “hated” it.

After the kids were excused, my neighbor looked me straight in the eye and asked me what we did for dinner. Did we make the kids separate food? Ick. Not a fun topic to bring up. Especially when she quoted her pediatrician drilling into her to never make her daughter something different. She is divorced & has one child to feed. I have 2 kids and a husband to please. So, there are definitely nights when the kids want fish-sticks and the hubs & I do not. It’s not always easy to please 4 people with one dish. But we have been making Natalie try whatever we’re eating — if we are eating different entrees.

Just to put things in perspective — our pediatrician is one that is both supportive, and realistic. Our two major issues have always been potty-training and food. The two issues our pediatrician told us we have pretty much zero control over, and to not lose sleep over it, because it’s just not worth it.
I don’t enjoy being a short-order cook, but I really don’t enjoy fighting with my kids at the dinner table. I try to pick my battles, and yes, that includes meals. 

I’m not a perfect mother, I didn’t make my own baby-food, and there are days when my kids eat more snacks & junk-food than they should. But I know I am a better cook than my own mother. My menu growing up consisted of anything made in the microwave. If we did eat things like eggs or chicken, it was microwaved. Yes, raw chicken, in the microwave, with zero seasonings. My dad occasionally grilled, but everything was well-done. Good times. 

My kids have been exposed to more unique foods in their short lives than I had experienced in the 20 years I lived with my folks. 

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I consider that a win.

The recent struggle at the neighbors’ did inspire me to try a little harder than we have been, telling the girls they can pick one thing to eat on their dinner plate, but the hubs & I get to pick the other 2 items… and they have to finish 2 of the 3 options. This “new” development hasn’t occurred without the nightly dinner screams & whines. I’m hoping the struggle will subside soon, but if they don’t, I’ll keep drinking trying. 

Thing is, my kids aren’t as picky as they think they are. They have tried so many foods since they started eating solids, as I vowed to never say “my kids won’t like that” and I’ve lived up to that… but… not without a fight.

How do you deal with picky eaters?

Will you be joining in on my twitter party this evening?? Hope so!! 

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