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Superfood two-ways

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Posted by on January 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Remember how great we were at parenting before we had kids? I would watch other kids eat nothing but pizza or macaroni or bread with jelly and I always figured that somehow I would be better at it – that my young kids would eat everything – tofu and leafy greens and sushi. Some of my friends’ kids do eat like that, but so far, mine do not. Jake and Jenn don’t even eat burgers, much less tofu.

The most recent meal-gone-bad started out reasonably. My son’s plate included a cheese roll-up:  melted cheese and a tortilla. There was a bowl of blueberries and some cut-up apples and some little carrots on the table – our meals all include cheese (are my midwestern roots showing?) – but there’s usually a couple other colors included. I had learned that day how to make a sweet potato in the microwave oven  (Super easy – stab it so it doesn’t explode, put it on a folded up paper towel and cook for five minutes. Superfood at your fingertips.)  so I decided we were going to be better eaters and not eat cheese roll-ups every day and the children were going to enjoy some sweet potato with me. I was (foolishly) optimistic. I gave them each a cube of sweet potato – smaller than a sugar cube. All they had to do was eat it. To sweeten the deal, I also bribed them: cookies after dinner if the cubes disappeared. (Don’t start on me about bribing my kids with food — I know, I know.)

Can you see where this is headed?  Jake said, “I tried it and I didn’t like it.” I saw an entire sugar cube left so I said he had to eat it and give it a fair chance so we could all move on. I also gave him the help-me-out-with-your-sister look, which is a twitch/wink combination, because we knew he was the key to her superfood satisfaction. He finally realized the small bit of food was standing between him and a reindeer cookie. He popped the cube in, started to swallow and suddenly morphed into a cat with that hairball-cough thing they do and yes, the little stinker barfed that sweet potato right back up.

He willed himself to do it and up came half a cheese roll-up, several other colors and a tiny cube of sweet potato. I was furious yet impressed at his skill. And because I’m his mother, he leaned in to me as the food appeared and I automatically cupped my hands in front of him so I was suddenly holding his dinner, including the superfood. He looked at me innocently, said, “I told you,” and accepted a napkin and a clean plate from his father, seated across the table.

Helpful as ever, his father pointed out that now Jake had not only not eaten the sweet potato, he had also not eaten the rest of his meal. Fortunately, he managed to keep the reindeer cookies down without any problem.

Filed under Bad Parenting
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