Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've told my girls that if they don't like something I make for dinner, they can ask me not to make it again, but they still have to eat it the first time. At the time, they agreed and choked down whatever it was that night. I figured my parenting mojo was working. Yay me!

Well damned if every dinnertime strategy doesn't backfire on me with that Peanut. The Bean, by far the more particular of the two of them in other ways, is so easy to feed. Peanut, not so much. Even the stuff she likes takes forever to get down her gullet. At two, she'd ask "what we have fo' dinnah?" and I'd say [whatever it was], and she'd wrinkle her little brow and shake her head slightly and suggest, "I don't -- like -- that?" And I'd think "my God she's gorgeous," then come out of my trance in time to say "Peanut, you DO like that. You had it two weeks ago and you liked it a lot." Now at three, she enunciates the question properly, and I still say [whatever it is], but now instead of hedging she just says "I wanted pasta!" Still gorgeous, but not so cute, especially after however much effort I've put into preparing chicken breast with herbed goat cheese and garlic (which they both ended up loving), or whatever the heck I've made. Then we get into the "Peanut, I don't listen to whining, go sit on the couch till you're done" loop.

Hence, the rule. Of course nobody likes everything -- that's OK, but you have to eat it the first time. The Bean is all over that (partly to show up her sister, I'm sure). She tries everything, likes most of it, explains what she doesn't like about some dishes (bbq sauce too spicy, texture of couscous too weird) and politely requests not to have them repeated. The Peanut, however, thinks she's playing me. She picks at meals she's always liked, and says she doesn't want to have them again. I can see her little goal is to whittle down the options until the only thing she hasn't rejected is: Pasta. And maybe turkey burgers. And chili (with "conebread"), and that goat cheese chicken, and pizza, and carrot soup, and flounder, and... actually, by three year-old standards, she likes quite a lot of different foods. She is just fixated on pasta.

At least it's whole-grain pasta.

Still, I see what you're up to, and it won't work, little one.


  1. Sigh. My son is driving me crazy with the pasta thing. Last night he ate NOTHING at dinner and we had roasted chicken and potatoes! C'mon, it wasn't all that weird! At least tonight he ate my veggie-burger tacos; but oldest declared she 'hates' tacos. Thankfully my middle child will eat anything and everything.

  2. Hates tacos!? What the?

    It's always gotta be something, I guess. I'm thinking of going on pasta strike, unless my husband's traveling and I just need to get calories in their bodies with zero fuss.

  3. I gotta try doing something like this. I get lots of whining at dinnertime.

  4. Yeah - that's pretty good variety! Kids are hard to please, for sure. My kids eat a lot of different things - I'm not sure why, really. I just know that that is certainly not the case for most children. I liked this post - see ya.