The Crazy Suburban Mom: Nineteen thousand seven hundred and ten meals to age eighteen

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nineteen thousand seven hundred and ten meals to age eighteen

     During the spitting fiasco that was the year 1992 I was in a constant state of, What?

Is it the food? 

My cooking? 

The entertainment value of my face covered in strained plums? 


  I wrung my hands, lost sleep, whined, and doubled my laundry with each new food.  I didn’t know why he hated what I was feeding him; I only knew he did. It would be better when my son could tell me what he wanted, I kept telling myself.

      My theory was all the food drama and half my laundry would vanish once he could verbalize.  In 1992 I spent a lot of food-covered hours in a fantasy.  My kid and I having endless and interesting discussions about The New York Times Dining & Wine section, convivially musing over  our points of view but then I would sneak in stuff about the new jar of toddler chicken and beets I have for his dinner ...We would compromise, find the toddler-foodie middle ground and work our way up to mother/son sashimi platters.

 Clearly, a theory born of deparation and lack of sleep.

Talking did  stop Mt. Baby from erupting constantly, but so many perfectly reasonable foods turned out to be surprisingly repulsive.

I needed a separate day planner just to keep up with the reasons why this brand was good and that one was totally unacceptable, and which skinless baloney had skin, and why a meatball is good but a meatloaf is giant square doody on a plate, and frankly, I grew tired of hearing why my cooking was disgusting really, really fast.

In retrospect, spitting turned out to be an efficient, albeit inelegant, means of articulating his dislikes.

     There are things that boy came into this world hating and still does Ultimately, It wasn't worth  full-scaling it every time he wouldn’t eat cooked broccoli because he ate it raw.   He’s a great kid; a really great kid.   I picked my battles and told him if he’d accept my rules (he did), I would accept his.

The Rules

The Hot Tomato Rule – Hot tomato pieces, even in foods primarily made up of tomatoes, are evil bits of despicable awful that should be eradicated from the planet.

The Star Trek Rule - Foods of differing types shouldn’t touch à la the Matter/Anti-Matter Reaction on Star Trek where the two are always kept apart with a containment field. If Matter and Anti-Matter touch, or to extrapolate in the case of food, a noodle and a Ding Dong, there will be a cataclysmic explosion and the Universe as we know it will cease to exist.

My son swears, in the case of the noodle and the Ding Dong, this is possible. He is less certain of the Matter/ Anti-Matter thing because, that’s a TV show, Mom. Geeeze.

The Acid Rule - Cooking is lose-lose proposition. Just face it and move on to dusting. Too bland and they tell you you've fed them bulky air, too ‘picy and they say, What's in this stuff acid? Are you trying to kill me?

 And sometimes there are no words, just some impromptu dinner theater involving a dramatic death scene.

The Specks Rule - There are a rainbow of specks.  Green specks could be parsley, could be basil, and could be play-doh for all he knows. He’s never eaten a green speck.  Black specks effectively eliminated one of the five foods he was willing to eat at Disney World. Black specks are grill marks and other signs of cooking.

It was a very long, whiny, week at the Magic Kingdom.

The Same/So Not Same Rule - Foods loved at a friend’s house will never be liked at home.  Period. Wrap it up, put a bow on it and walk away from the stove.  This rule will drive you crazy if you let it, so don’t.   This rule caused me to buy several whole turkeys, a Costco-sized box of samosas, sausage biscuits, pork butt (twice), Hot Pockets, and two hams.

Forget it, you can’t serve anything anyone else made with the same results. Take a deep breath and just go to your happy place.

Which will not be your kitchen.

The Styrofoam Rule - Foods that come in Styrofoam containers are accepted without question.  This rule caused me to investigate the possibility of getting rid of my dishes and buying mass quantities of take-out containers.

   My kid's nineteen now.   A year ago he came home from Jamaica and said, "Ma! I ate conch soup off the back of some guy's bicycle.  It's great, you should try it."  -  And that is something I would have bet the ranch would have never happened by the way - And it was then I knew I'd been taken for an excruciating eighteen year ride on the good ship what's in this stuff.  With taken being the operative word.

Save yourself that ride.  And in case you don't know how long that ride is... I've done the math.  Nineteen thousand seven hundred and ten meals to age eighteen.  Do you really want to say, Just two more mushrooms, that many times?


Babes Mami 6/16/10, 10:53 AM  

Currently whatever he will eat I give him. Right now it's bananas and Gerber. He doesn't want the food I was making him but he loved it a couple weeks ago. Stupid children. And no, I would rather not repeat repeat repeat!

Maureen 6/16/10, 12:45 PM  

Oh I did the broccoli thing with one of my daughters and ended up doing what you did. She didn't have to eat it cooked and raw suited her (and me) just fine.

Oh, and I just have conch ceviche in Mexico. You son is right - yummy!

Mom Mayhem says: 6/16/10, 4:41 PM  

Ha -I know what you mean so many food "rules" -I'm sure it will be quite the ride :)

Natalie 6/16/10, 5:44 PM  

Don't even get me started on trying to feed my 2 year old! If it ain't a tater tot, chicken nugget, or hot dog he doesn't want it!

Vonlipi 6/16/10, 9:34 PM  

My step daughter wouldn't eat pieces of tomato, visible onions and long pasta...That drove me NUTS! I was soooo glad when she moved out!

Lin 6/16/10, 10:08 PM  

I hated the food game with my kids as they were growing up. Heck, they would pick the cheese off cheese pizza! Idiots. I swear it was all just to drive me nuts. and it did. A lot.

I love how they find food delicious--like I never ever offered them a thing when they were ridiculous. I hate kids. It's all a freaking mind game.

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