Dinner time Drama

I am so over cooking “kid-friendly” meals. Who even invented that phrase? It’s not “kid-friendly,” it’s actually “parent-friendly” because it means there is a (only slightly) higher chance that your kids will actually eat the meal you’ve slaved over. More aptly titled, they should be called “you-won’t-need-to-stab-your-eyes-out-with-a-fork-because-your-kid-is-refusing-to-eat-something-they-loved-last-week” meals. Or in our house, these are known simply as “Mac-n-cheese.”

My kids have started to add rules to their eating. I suppose it’s not completely fair to call them rules, since most rules exist for a reason. These are really just over-generalized and illogical statements they make in an attempt to get out of eating something delicious that I have made. “I don’t like anything round.” “I only eat white things.” There is no rhyme or reason to these statements, so it’s futile to try and cook within the confines of their ridiculous sweeping statements. They are moving targets and will suck you into a black hole where your sanity goes to die.

“I don’t like this. I only eat soft things.”

“You only eat soft things? Ok, how about some mashed potatoes?”

“I don’t like them because they are too squishy.”

“That works out perfectly! You can eat the original ‘crunchy’ dinner I prepared for you that initiated your statement about only eating soft things.”

“But it’s red.”

“What’s wrong with red? It’s marinara.”

“I don’t like mar-nin-area.”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t, because it’s red!”

“So you probably don’t want to eat strawberries anymore, since they’re red.”

“No, I like strawberries.”

This is the part of the discussion where my brain jumps ship, leaps out of my ear and runs away in horror.

Don’t. Engage. You will lose. You’re playing by different rules. See, as an adult, you are bound to the confines of logic and reason. A three-year-old knows nothing of these limitations, so the whole world is their proverbial illogical play place. Plus, odds are good they are hungry, since they haven’t eaten anything you’ve made them in three days. So you’ve just found yourself arguing with a real hungry, human form of Siri. (Who honestly never knows what I’m asking about and has zero helpful suggestions. I said “Panera,” Siri!! Not “Riviera!!” I just want a sandwich not an all inclusive vacation!!)

When it comes to arguing with a toddler, you’d be better off spouting crazy talk and non-topical blatherings, for that, friends, is the language of their people. Have you ever heard a conversation between two three-year-olds? It’s the sound track of my life, and it ain’t pretty.

I have very vivid dreams about the day that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to enjoy sautéed onions again, some red pepper flakes and perhaps, even mushrooms! Will my kids ever eat any vegetable that isn’t puréed into an unrecognizable form and discretely mixed in with their food (that they probably won’t eat anyway)? Will dinner ever be a pleasant time where we all sit and talk about something other than how gross the dinner I made tastes? I won’t hold my breath, but until that day comes, I will hold the onions.

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