Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Dinner Chez Moi

Trying to feed two children who are complete polar opposites is beginning to get on my nerves. I don't know when dinner time got so out of control. Was it gradual or have I just come out of my denial fog? Tonight was a perfect example. We make a point of having a family dinner together, at the table, most every night. I enjoy cooking, C. cleans the kitchen and does dishes afterwards. It works for us. It gives us all a chance to be together at least once a day. All of us in the same room. Sometimes that doesn't seem like such a brilliant idea.

For the last two nights I have had to basically force-feed a 9 year old. She's one of the finickiest (is that even a word?) eaters on the planet. She has put herself on what we call the Anti-Atkins diet. All carbs. If she had her way, we'd eat macaroni and cheese every night for dinner and sometimes for breakfast, too. Of course, while #1 Son likes mac & cheese, he ONLY likes it if it is "fresh," which translated means that it has to be right out of the pot. If it has sat there at all, while the other foods finish in time to get plated while hot, he wants no part of it. Last night's battle was peas. #1 Son loves them, especially the way I made them last night (a butter based sauce with green onions and tarragon -Yummy). The Little One swore peas off for Lent of something. She claims she's "not into anything green." I was bound and determined that she was at least going to TRY the peas. In our house the rule is that you have to at least TRY one spoonful of something. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. I will be the cause of tons expensive therapy in their future lives. I am not, however, going to take responsibility for possible eating disorders and obesity. The Little One and I squared off for half an hour. She finally ate the damned spoonful of peas without my having to shove them up her nose (though I was close). And if you must know, she thought I wasn't looking and she finished ALL the peas. Tonight it was cauliflower. I make this really awesome cauliflower, mustard and cheese dish that is a hit anytime I have served it. Except with the Little One. Tonight she informed me that she doesn't eat anything white.

In all honestly she will eat brussel sprouts, but I don't think it's because she really likes them. I think it's because her brother honestly hates them. She asks for brussel sprouts all the time - well those and macaroni. For the record, we rarely have them. She will eat broccoli, but only the "trees." Translation = the top part. Oh and green beans. She just recently decided she likes green beans (which is surprising because her brother loves them and heaven forbid she agree with him). That's part of the problem, too. One day she likes something. The next, forget it. She swears she hates it and has always hated it. I can't win.

When she does manage to choke down veggies, she only likes them "the way Nana makes them." My mother, God love her. She has always cooked vegetables one way. From a can, no seasoning. Except butter. Lots of butter (or in her case margarine which I can't stand and is bad for you anyway). It was that way all while I was growing up. Her culinary repitoire hasn't changed at all (did I say God love her?). I, on the other hand, am an adventurous cook. Nothing crazy like sushi or anything. I'm not out to kill anyone. I just love food. I love to cook. I'm damned good at it, if I do say so myself. Cooking is one of my few creative outlets. The Little One will have none of it. Just open a can, throw it in a pot and serve it up with lots of butter. *sigh* At least it gets her to eat carrots. I have at least four very yummy ways to fix carrots. My creativity is lost on her.

#1 Son, on the other hand, is a dream to feed for the most part. He'll try most anything. He even tries to choke down the dreaded brussel sprouts. That's only because I told him once that as a kid I wasn't into veggies, but as I got older my tastes changed. He has made brussel sprouts his benchmark. He figures that when he finally likes brussel sprouts, he'll be grown up. God love him, too. He at least tries one or two anytime I serve them.

Yes, he's easy to feed because he's not picky. The problem with #1 Son is sheer volume. He will clean his plate at dinner, go back for seconds and a half an hour later there he is. Standing before the alter that all growing boys worship - the refrigerator. He'll stand there so long staring that I have to ask if he's waiting for snow. After choosing a snack, less than an hour later he's back on snow watch again. At that point I have to explain to him that I did not, in fact, go grocery shopping in the half an hour since his LAST visit to the holy grail and nothing has changed.

Seafood is where #1 Son draws the line. He hates it and swears he's allergic to it. I'll give him the allergy theory when it comes to crab. He tries it and immediately throws it up. Same with shrimp. Maybe he's on to something. But ever since his barf fest about 2 years ago, he has sworn off probably the healthiest protein out there. I can't say I'm heartbroken, though. I really don't like seafood myself. Nothing that really tastes like fish. I do like shrimp, though. As long as it's really fresh. The Little One likes shrimp, too. Probably because it is expensive. She loves anything that is cost prohibitive. Steak (filet mignon, thankyouverymuch) is her all-time favorite. But she will eat shrimp. Did I mention #1 Son's suspected shellfish allergy? *sigh*

Welcome to my world. Perhaps we'll have macaroni and cheese - fresh out of the pot - with a side of brussels sprouts tomorrow night.



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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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