Sunday, February 26, 2012
Is there meat in pancakes?
During this Lenten season, Princess Particular is keeping tabs on our promises not to eat meat on Fridays. She now asks each day, if things contain meat, such as pancakes, or pepperoni. Making her school lunch proved to be interesting, because not only did she think it was not okay to have pizza for both lunch and dinner (any normal child would think that was the best option ever), but then her life would be over because she couldn't sit next to her friend that never buys lunch. Let me just paint my level of frustration for you, because this is all coming to light at 9:15 am, and school started at 8:55. I already caught a world of shit from her for oversleeping, and therefore missing "Foot it Friday", in which she gets a ticket for walking to school. The prizes for having your ticket chosen would rock your world. So far we have won a foam airplane that now resides under my couch. I definitely lost my spot at the fancy nursing home she would have put me in.
"Excuse me, waitress? Is there meat in this?"
Since she is a picky eater, this has created a myriad of problems, and I started thinking about all the time I actually spend feeding this child. Everyone has seen the Dr. Phil episodes where there's a frazzled, frumpy mother, crying about how she has to cook five different dinners each night for her children. We all think to ourselves, "This will never be me. This hot mess needs to grow some balls." Then, slowly, you find yourself doing crazy things to get your kids to eat, like making their food into shapes. Or letting them eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks. Or cutting entire food groups out of their diet in order to avoid temper tantrums. This is okay to a point. However, if you never stop, you will eventually wake up one day to a child who doesn't eat dairy besides milk, most vegetables, many fruits, and basically has stayed alive the past five years eating buttered noodles, pancakes, strawberries and plain chicken.
This is one parenting mistake that I am actually fully willing to admit, because this was my life until recently. The actual problem with having a picky eater is the day you decide they won't be picky any longer. Then comes The Battle. The Battle is our dinner ritual, a complicated dance of standoffs, negotiations, and going to bed with no snack. Also, tears. Lots of tears. When dealing with a picky eater, think of them as a bank robber with lots of hostages, or someone threatening to jump from a really tall building. It requires psychological prowess and balls of steel, because if you back down even once , you may as well just serve marshmallows and red bull for dinner for the rest of their lives, because you've just lost the war, hookers.
Actual parenting advice for The Battle of The Picky Eater:
* Serve them more than you expect them to eat. One priceless trick I learned is that during negotiations, you can separate each item on their plate into piles, and let them choose the pile they eat. This gives them the illusion of control, but in reality they are doing exactly what you want them to do. Muahahaha....
* Lie. Lying is perfectly okay in certain situations, and this is one of them. For example, Princess Particular fully believes that pears are green apples, quinoa is cous cous, pork is chicken, and turkey bacon is real bacon. Why? Because that little darling won't eat those things otherwise, and really, who does it hurt? We will tell her one day... maybe.
*Let them help cook. Now, I know what you're thinking, because I live this every day. "I can cook dinner about five billion times faster if everyone just leaves me alone." However, when you let your little monster help measure and stir and see the whole process, they are more apt to try their creations. Also, you can go ahead and take one point off the chart you keep that determines how much therapy they will need as adults, because this is a great way to spend some quality time together like those normal families do. (Or so I've heard.)
*Never back down. NEVER let them leave the table without finishing once negotiations have been made. Even if the deal was to eat one bite of brussels sprouts, if you let them leave they will fully believe they can do whatever the eff they want at the dinner table for the rest of their lives. Do you want your daughter to order the macaroni and cheese off the kids menu at her first real date? Do you want to cook your eighteen year old son buttered noodles? Exactly.
So there you go; good luck, stay strong, and remember: All's fair in parenting and war.