I’d like to just start out by I have consciously chosen to raise my children in some different ways than my parents raised me. Take the “Clean Plate Club” for example. Talk about overrated. I have no empirical data other than my behind to support this, but I’m pretty sure that lovely idea just encourages kids to grow up with some pretty deep seated eating issues. So, my kiddos have never been told they have to eat everything on their plates. Try to manage a few more bites, yes; eat past the point of being full, no. It seems to be a fair idea to me.
Of course, such fairness is tested time and again by living with a picky eater.
In fact, all three of my kids are picky eaters if you want to define a picky eater as a person who isn’t going to just eat dinner without a fuss. It’s enough to make a mama a little crazed.
I’ve got one eater with “texture issues” which is a fancy way of saying that one of my kids won’t eat anything that has varied textures – aka casserole. Forget the fact that each and every ingredient on his plate could be one of his absolute favorites. Put them together and there is no way he is going to eat them. Speaking of no way, did I mention that he is a veggie hater?
Then, I’ve got the veggie lover. To get that one to eat more than 2 bites of any protein source is a little slice of hell. But hand her a raw zucchini and she’s a happy kid.
And then there is the third little plate at my table. Right now, he’ll eat anything. But he’s three so I know this is just nature’s way of teasing me. Because one day he is going to go from being my amiable little, “Mama, please have oat-meeeaaaal” kid to having a meltdown over the dinner options.
The whole thing makes me crazy. I feel like I have 2 positions here. I can either become some fancy short order cook and make 4 different meals every night, or remain hard-hearted and keep letting them go hungry. I like to cook, so it isn’t that I don’t have the skills to make a more varied menu with say, 18 options every day, but it comes down to the simple fact that being a short order cook makes being a mom a little less fun. But then, so does listening to all the crying.
So, I am a big ole softie most nights and take pains to try to make my kids happy without seeming to be coddling their gastric habits. Yeah, it’s working well for me.
But I do it because, secretly, I would still really like to have one of those divided plates like we had back in elementary school so that none of my peas ever accidently touch my meatloaf. Gross.