I cannot be the only one…who fears evening dinners as though I have a deep-rooted phobia of the sounds of forks clinking on plates. As I am working away in the kitchen, doing my best to make sure every bite of chicken is small enough that my son won’t make the face as though he just bit into a dirty sock, I am outlining my game plan incase the shortest member of my family decides he is now a vegetarian. I think to myself, if he makes it half way through dinner he may get enough to eat, this way I will not have to return to the kitchen and make an entirely different meal for one half sized child. I daringly put the plates on the table and call Junior to dinner all the while I am crossing my fingers that tonight will be the night it all changes and he decides to be one of those children that I hear about that eat their parents “out of house and home”.
I reminisce about the days when a plastic bowl with a suction cup on the bottom full of strange pureed baby food and a bright plastic spoon was all it took to be sure my boy was full of nutrients. Yes, the smell was not always the most pleasant from those little baby food jars and cleaning up the smeared baby face and high chair tabletop was no easy task, but I knew he ate an actual meal. Those days are behind us and now I sit down at our small round dinner table, facing my most formidable opponent, a four-year-old with a quick gag-reflex. I cheer him on when he takes good bites and I bite my tongue when he spits out my carefully crafted fine meal of chicken burritos.
I know that one day I’ll look back at all my plotting and planning over something as natural as eating and think that I wasted a lot of time on such nonsense, but for now the mayhem over dinner is real and I am only trying to cushion the blows. I will continue on my mission to make my child an eater, at least of something other than pizza and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. I know I cannot be the only one that feels this way…right?