If I’ve really, truly failed one thing with raising my kids, it’s with food. I just… they don’t eat for SHIT and it drives me right slap out of my mind and sometimes I’m calm about it and other times I get so pissed. The ways I’ve messed up are many. I’ve somehow raised three children that refuse nearly every food offered and eat basically cereal, fruit, and yogurt. I’ve failed in that I’ve failed to stay nonchalant about it. I’ve failed in that I don’t even KNOW how I’ve failed or where we went astray off the path but GEEZUZ other kids eat food and mine don’t. We eat normal, healthy meals in front of them, EVERY DAY, and yet they refuse to participate.
(I should add that the main focus of my concern is that they are actually getting enough calories. I know lots of folks complain and/or obsess over their kids’ eating, but I’d wager that their kids eat more than my kids do. I’m serious… these kids don’t eat. Like, AT ALL.)
I am just so goddamn sick of making a meal– and I do mean ANY MEAL, kid-stuff included– and having them groan and moan and pout and declare how much they don’t liiiiiiiike it. There’s a “weird spot” on the apple slice, or “crumbs” in the yogurt, or “this cheese tastes funny” or “it’s too cold” or “it’s too hot”. After awhile, you just want them to eat the fucking grilled cheese, ya know? And while they’re at it? SHUT UP.
We’ve tried ignoring this behavior, having good attitudes about this behavior, sending them out of the room for being rude and negative, sticker charts to reward them for not complaining, putting our foot down and insisting they eat something, involving them with cooking, praising them for trying something new (no matter how teensy the bite), making meals full of foods they “like”, taking them to see where our CSA food is grown and involving them with the food source. Nothing works.
And believe me, my expectations are not unreasonable. I want them to come to the table without complaining. I want them to eat a few bites of what’s being served for dinner, and I’m not talking big mouthfuls; I’m satisfied with nibbles. (And while I don’t cook two meals, there are always kid-friendly options). And I want them to be polite. THAT’S IT. They KNOW these expectations, and YET.
So tonight, I made a good supper. A reasonable supper, delicious even. It was corn chowder (it included bacon and potatoes), corn bread muffins, yogurt for the kids, milk, etc. I KNEW they wouldn’t gobble down the soup, but I did not feel it was unreasonable for them to taste it. Two of the three LOVE bacon and corn, and all three like potatoes. But of course, they refused to even take the smallest droplet of soup into their mouthes. AND they would not stop with the ever-loving BITCHING about this meal. And remember, they bitch about ANY MEAL, so it’s not like a sammich thrown their way would solve anything.
Basically, it ruined our evening, an evening I was looking forward to. I ended up storming out of the kitchen (rather than yell/lecture them anymore). David quietly cleaned up the dishes. We skipped the fire, the hot chocolate, the popcorn, the fun cozy family night. I spent the rest of the evening barricaded in my room, fuming.
And now I’m still just so pissed. I WANTED to have a good evening. And yet, I could not seem to rally to having a cozy, lovey night with them. I didn’t even want to be in the same room as they were. I feel like we are TRYING to give them a good life, a happy home, and all they do is look around, pull down their pants, and take a huge shat all over everything.
And yet… I feel like taking away our tradition is messing with something sacred. I feel BAD that we didn’t carry on, despite how dinner went. It wasn’t even about the food, or whether or not they ate, or any of that. It was about how, once again, we couldn’t even enjoy a simple meal together. We couldn’t spend a half hour together as a family without their behavior grating on our very last nerve.
But they are just kids– little children– and they have bad days too. *I’m* the adult; I shouldn’t take it personally.
Basically, this entire day took a turn for the douche. And in the end, we didn’t salvage it.