Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eat, Drink, and be Miserable

So this post isn't necessarily just about our trip to England, but pervades our day to day life as well. Meal time, specifically dinner time, is my most miserable time of the day. This didn't used to be the case. When I was single, I loved dinner time. It could be as fancy or as plain as I pleased. Then I got married. "What do you want for dinner tonight?" might just be the most loaded, anger-inducing question of my post-marital, pre-children life. Then I discovered a magical book which gave me weekly recipes and grocery lists on a 12-week cycle and while the food was rarely fancy or delicious, it answered the question "What do you want for dinner tonight?". But now the question is back. It is back for two reasons. The first reason is that we are living in Switzerland, where the normal grocery staples of North America do not exist. All those easy to use "just add cream of XXX soup" recipes are useless. The second reason is of course the kids. My son is a picky eater. He is usually pretty good at "trying" something new if we make a fuss about it, but even if he concedes that it tastes good, he still won't have a second bite....because it is new. There is no telling what old staple will suddenly be on the "no eat" list at any given moment. Aside from pepperoni sticks and chicken nuggets he will not eat any meat product. He doesn't like pizza, he doesn't like pasta no matter what kind of sauce I dream up to put on it. We've tried to accommodate by including at least something that we know he likes into each meal, as a side dish. That just got too complicated, and see the above "no eat" comment. So we decided to serve bread and butter with each meal and he can eat as much or as little as he likes of what is on the table and nothing else. I think I would be fine with this compromise if A) I was sure he was getting adequate nutrition during breakfast, lunch and snacks and B) if C didn't fly off the handle on an almost nightly basis about the "waste" of food. I think we all just need a little more time for the phase(s) to pass. Not too long ago L all of a sudden started eating carrot sticks. Only raw sticks, not cooked, even if glazed in butter and/or honey (I've tried just about everything). So I guess I need to find a European version of the "miracle book" and just keep plugging on trying to set a good example, hope for the best, and ignore unpleasant outbursts by my fellow diners. I'll get back to dinners in England in my next non-rant post, I promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Put a big piece of chocolate cake on the table and without compromise establish a rule that dessert will not be touch without EVERYTHING off the plate. This rule has to fairly apply to everyone in the house (no one gets dessert without finishing dinner) and will not only encourage good eating habits, it will build trust. It won't be easy at first, there will be temptation to reduce the volume or vary the items but hunger and sugar will win out in the end. If a rat can learn this rule....a kid can too.