Eat it, please?

When I was a kid, my brother was the picky eater of the family. My mom catered to him with breakfast and lunch, always making him his favorite things to eat. Like a mustard and mayonnaise sandwich (yes he ate this regularly) and french toast or pancakes. But at dinner time, she made one meal for the family. And most nights, my brother refused to eat dinner. My parents would always say, “Well, I guess you’re going to go hungry because that’s all there is to eat.” Later, I would see my brother sitting in the living room eating a big bowl of cereal and I would think, “My mom is such a sucker. Of course he’s not going to eat dinner because he knows he’ll just get cereal later if he doesn’t like it.”

Fast forward 25 years later and here I am trying to get my kids to regularly eat well balanced meals. It’s definitely a struggle. And why is this? Don’t these kids know how good they have it? Custom-made omelets or real oatmeal and fresh fruit for breakfast, anything they can think of for lunch, and homemade dinners every night that take me, at least, a half hour to make, if not longer. No TV dinners in my house! And do you think that they eat these meals? No. It’s a crap shoot as to what they will eat and when. Sometimes they’ll devour a meal, but the next time I serve it, they refuse to even take one bite. It’s beyond frustrating!

Tonight I slow cooked a pot roast with red potatoes, carrots and a quartered sweet onion. The whole house smells divine. The meat was falling apart on our forks. The kids ate nothing. Not one bite of a carrot. Not one bite of potato or roast. And now, they are begging for food. We use the tried and true phrase from my parents’ table that “this is all there is to eat and if you don’t eat it, you’re going to bed hungry.” And I know that if they are truly hungry, they’ll eat it, right?

So why am I sneaking the kids a banana when my husband isn’t looking? Because I can’t stand the thought of my kids going hungry.

But I’ll never feed them cereal. Because that would just make me a sucker.

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