The setting was the dinner table, where evening meals are entirely blissful and quality moments of happiness. A place where young children always eat their dinners without resistance. It’s downright magical, these things called family dinner, it’s nearly enough to make adults cry warm, beautiful tears of joy.
Or… uh, no.
Allow me to introduce the cast of characters for our story of the hour. There is a daughter, lover of all foods, especially tomatoes, ketchup, and pickles. There is no food that can’t be dipped into a nearby condiment. Apples in ranch. Apples in hummus. She’s a mess, eating is a whole body experience and she spills her drink 80% of the time. And the boy, he’s older, months away from turning six. When he was a baby, he refused applesauce and all green vegetables; to this day, the same applies. There is, under no circumstance, a good reason for a food to by covered in a sauce-like-substance, and any sort of combination dish is out of the question. Ketchup has recently become acceptable, but only when dipping. Never squirt it on a hot dog. And as of Saturday, yes, this past Saturday, June 21, 2014, he has decided to eat his cereal with milk. Cereal with milk.
For a long time, we’d allow him to eat something different, because if parenthood is about picking your battles, we picked other ones. Then, we tried the whole, “you aren’t getting up from this table until you eat at least one bite of _________.” And that obviously turned into a battle of wills and in the end, is it really about nutrition if he finally surrenders and eats one black bean? Who wins here? No stomach is filled, no energy remains. Everyone hates the black bean. And the dear boy with his gentle spirit also has the stubborn will of one thousand angry horses. Oh, parenthood, so rich with opportunities for life lessons.
Well, I don’t know what changed, maybe being a million weeks pregnant, maybe running out of fruit and yogurt faster than any family should, we decided it was time. He was getting older and with great freedom comes great responsibility…or it was time to learn that he couldn’t always eat what he liked and he couldn’t starve AND he had to learn to try new things. THE END.
We started seeing progress, admittedly, there was bribery. But, hell, PROGRESS PEOPLE! And then, we quickly found ourselves playing a numbers game, it always went like this…
”You have to try this many bites.”
“Is this three bites?”
“No. It’s one.”
A bite. “Was that enough bites?”
So many opportunities for math lessons here. (No one likes math.)
And on and on and on…
That game got old, faster than fast.
There was tweaking.
Which brings us tonight. When that boy sat down at the table and asked what was in the bowl. It was a vegetable curry with summer squash, in a separate bowl from the rice, naturally. (Baby steps.) Matt and I exchanged glances, certain this wasn’t going to be pretty.
And he took a bite.
The heavens stood still. The earth was silent.
He took another bite.
Matt and I looked at each other in disbelief. don’t move, don’t say a word.” He kept eating as we watched in wonder and then he asked, if he ate enough. When we answered, yes, he looked at us with the same disbelief. Vegetable curry with squash? A vegetable covered in a sauce went into the mouth of my son, more than one time. It’s been a few hours since the event. I’m still not sure it was real.
It’s a Tuesday miracle, I tell you.