Monday, September 29, 2008

They'll Make A Liar of You Every Time

Granddaddy used to say that all the time about his nine children.

As a child, I concede my own fixations on taste and preference were often fickle and determined by whatever fight my brother and I were having at the moment. When he said he liked eggs, I decided that day, that moment, that eggs were on the verboten list. He liked strawberry ice cream. I avoided eating it for YEARS.

Mom drew the line when I tried to unbuckle my seatbelt to declare my individuality from my younger brother in the car. So we glared silently, seat belted, barely controlling our mutual disdain for the other’s existence. That was acceptable because it was muted. I only got into trouble when I lacked the internal good judgment not to say, “MOMMMMM, He’s LOOKING at me.”

Today, it is my turn, and I break into a cold sweat when asked such seemingly benign questions as “What do your kids like to eat?”

On any given day, I could serve cantaloupe, eggs, bagels and milk and would have children praising me for hours. Asking for more. The same would be true for spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce or pot roast, or baked chicken…until someone else makes it. Visions of children voicing emotionally ungrateful responses to other people’s charity have forced me to take dramatic measures to insure that even if my offspring find the food unpalatable, they aren’t going to be vocal about it.
Because there is a type of universality to children, I humbly offer the following tips.

1) Have a bag of M&m’s at the ready. Insert into any child’s mouth that you think questionable as you receive the food.

2) Make sure dessert looks so tantalizing that they’d be willing to consume liver, beets and lima beans in abundance and wash it all down with tap water…no ice.

3) Empty your refrigerator of condiments. Let the kiddos use liberally.

4) Duck and cover strategy: Cover whatever it is with either sauce or cheese.

5) Channel your inner marketer. Give the food a snazzy name, break out the good china, put on classical music and pretend to be a waiter. Use phrases like “Will that be all Madam?”

6) Stick approach. Eat it or do the dishes.

7) Create an alternative that you like that you know the kids despise, such that the first meal looks appetizing by comparison…it’s either this…or my baked cod with tomatoes…

8) Mommy Dearest method. It’s now or it’s breakfast. This is only if you are willing to suffer for the next 24 hours. I wouldn’t advise it.

9) Piece meal Peace meal. One serving of something at a time…so kids get a fraction of food that looks so small they’re intrigued and willing to try it. Let them add salt and pepper. Serve meal in small courses.

10) Surrender. Divide up the meal to those things the kids will eat, fire up the microwave, nuke some potpies and prepare to spend the next three weeks eating casserole.


MightyMom said...

this cracks me up...cuz I've done most of em!!!

Anonymous said...

Your blog always makes me laugh. I too enjoy being a stay at home Mom, but can't imagine how busy you are. I thought of you and Baby Paul when I saw this, and thought you'd be a perfect receipent.

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