My son, Jasper, is 3 1/2. He's a picky eater...always has been. My friends have endured my meltdowns about his selective palate and it's been a long road for me since I love to cook and bake. I have friends with worse problems...but when your child refuses your food repeatedly...be it healthy, or unhealthy, delicious or marginal, it evokes this sensation of panic within your psyche of motherhood that I can't even begin to DESCRIBE. As an epicurean, it's downright insulting! As his mother, it is my job to feed, to nourish, to provide. When he does all but give you the finger in response to your offerings, it can seriously be maddening! Three years of this. Mixed in with that for fun, I had another kid...a daughter...who got jarred food instead of homemade because my self esteem couldn't take it anymore! Well, more like I got a clue and I realized that my child needed to be held more than she needed me standing over my Cuisinart, swearing because I undercooked what was in there and it wouldn't get smooth enough. She was higher maintenence and she just needed me in other capacities. She is healthy and happy....Ohhhhhhh.....NOW I GET IT!
Feeding children isn't always sunshine, rainbows and effing YoBaby commercials! Food can evoke issues in a lot of people (me). We are a nation of eaters. I am an eater. I've struggled with my weight for YEARS...not because I didn't know what I SHOULD be eating, but rather because what I SHOULDN'T tastes better in my most vulnerable hours. Take a number, right? Right. We do our best with what we've got. I've since learned to check my ego at the door when it comes to feeding my kids...for the most part. Nobody's perfect. Fortunately my son and I do share one thing in common..we both love dark chocolate...bittersweet preferably. 60-72% cacao is typically his favorite. HE IS MINE AFTERALL! Oh wait, what did I say about checking my ego? Ha ha...oh yeah...back to the nobody's perfect line, people.
At the end of the day, it's all about the connections you make with one another. I used to think it was about making organic, homemade babyfood concoctions to "expand his palate". Now it's about making a mess in the kitchen together, or teaming up to make his baby sister laugh. That's the stuff of love. THAT'S what he'll remember and take with him to his own family.
Today, after an exhausting day of family fun at the pumpkin patch/hillbilly Disneyland, my husband and I decided to order a pizza instead of cook. We all sat at the table together and I slid a slice of pepperoni pie onto Jasper's Lightening McQueen plate. He then picked up his plastic cup of milk, holding it up as if he were toasting and recited his preschool mealtime mantra:
"We love our bread, we love our butter. But most of all, we love EACHOTHER. Bon appetite...now we can eat".