As near as I could tell, my mother never spent any time thinking about what we ate. I don’t think I had a piece of fruit in my house until I was grown and married – and only then because my husband requested it. There was never any fish, unless it was canned tuna; and the only veggies were either green beans or peas boiled to death and topped with bacon grease. My dad had a huge sweet tooth, so there were cookies and cakes and ice cream on a daily basis. My mother was always on some ridiculous 600 calorie-a-day diet and generally skipped dinner, staring off into space while the rest of ate. The only good thing I could say about the eating habits of my family growing up is there was never any soda in the house. I think that was a factor of cost rather than health, though. It’s really no wonder I was clueless about a healthy diet when I got married.
After we got married we tried to improve our eating habits. We had moderate success, but I really wanted to take it to a new level after Big was born. That is what led me to The Super Baby Food Book. It has lots of information in it, from what first foods are safe to what ages you should introduce new foods to even making your own baby-safe cleaning products. The chapters that held my interest the most were the ones about making your own baby food, and feeding your baby the best foods you can from the beginning so they develop life-long healthy habits. I was quite enamored with this idea.
The main premise is that instead of giving your baby powdered and jarred cereals, you can make your own out of whole grains and legumes that you grind and cook yourself. She calls this mixture Super Porridge. The nutritional content of whole grains is staggering. I immediately set out trying to figure out how to implement this plan.
Fortunately, when I went to the health food store to check out the grains, I found Rob’s Red Mill Organic 6 Grain Cereal. So! Happy! All the grains were already ground up and ready to go! All I had to do was cook it and pour it down his little beak!
Or not. Turns out, my son might be the pickiest eater on the face of the earth. He doesn’t have any sensitivities or allergies; he just has a massive supply of Stubborn. Even as a baby, he was like that. Luckily, I noticed a recipe for muffins on the back of the 6 Grain Cereal package and he loved them.
Fast forward five years, and I have had just about enough of muffin making. When he was 7 or 8 months old, half a muffin filled him right up. A dozen muffins lasted almost a month. Now, I have to stop him and his sister at two muffins each. I’ll be happy if the 13 dozen muffins I made yesterday last two months. Combine that with their diabolical scheme to never like the same kind of muffin and their refusal to eat store-bought cereal, and I am kind of wishing I would have chosen the happy meal and kool-aid path instead of the stupid healthier food path.
He is not a fan of veggies (and by not a fan, I mean Can Puke at Will to Signify Displeasure), unless it’s canned pumpkin in a muffin. (gah! muffins!) A few weeks ago I told him that he has to find ONE vegetable that he likes. Imagine my complete shock when he jumped right on board with this plan and is voluntarily trying new vegetables. Seriously. I couldn’t have thought of this three years ago? So far he has tried oven roasted cauliflower and oven roasted sweet potato fries. He claimed to dislike them both, but still – he ate more bites than I thought he would and I did kind of screw up the sweet potatoes, which were proclaimed to be “too gooshy”. Whatever that is. I wasn’t even asking which one he liked, just which one he hated the least. That’s what I have been reduced to over here.
And while we are on the subject (I’m looking at you, Chipper Child-Free Food Network Person), these claims that all you have to do to get your kids to eat new foods is to involve them in cooking are just irresponsible. I have endured many disappointments from following that advice. Big loves to cook and is only too happy to make things he won’t eat. Maybe it works with theoretical children. Not real life ones who have unfortunately been raised to have opinions and freely express them. Oy, I’m just making tons of mistakes with these people. Is it too late to start in with the children-should-be-seen-not-heard plan? Would they present themselves for inspection each morning, all clean and shiny and hair-combed? And call me Mummy Darling?
We will be spending the summer perusing the farmer’s markets in search of the perfect vegetable. As annoyed as I get that Big is a picky eater; it is NOTHING compared to how annoyed his daddy gets. Which is funny because who did Big inherit his pickiness from? Why, from his DADDY, of course! His daddy, who made noises about calling an attorney to see what his rights were when he saw me bring an onion into the house.
I never call it to his attention, though. Because I am a good wife that way.