31 Jul
2017
Posted in: Giggles
By    No Comments

Kid Friendly

So, the other day my sister decided to FaceTime me while our mother spoon fed my new niece bananas for the first time. It was quite an amusing site. Kamilla was not exactly sure what to do with the slimy, mushy substance being pushed into her mouth. Truth be told, most of the bananas oozed right back out and onto her many chins…this kid doesn’t miss too many meals. Watching her sweet (fat) face struggle through this process of learning about solid foods, made me almost miss babies in my house.

Almost.

It did; however, get me thinking about the road ahead of my sister. She will soon be entering into that winding and seemingly never-ending pathway of KID FRIENDLY EVERYTHING. This is a place known to mothers across every corner of the globe…a place where chicken nuggets reign supreme and mac and cheese is the absolute well-spring of life itself. A place where ketchup is a vegetable, and juice boxes are nectar straight from the Gods of Mount Olympus.

Gag me with a plastic safety spoon.

Don’t get me wrong…I have cooked, served, and ordered my fair share of nuggets and mac-n-cheese. My question to my sister, for her to ponder for future reference, and any other new parent…or parent struggling with a dinnertime rebellion…is simple: Would YOU want to eat the same thing over and over and over again? Night after night after night?

No.

When our children are babies, it is imperative that we introduce them to tasteless and bland strained peas, carrots, green beans and bananas. They need nutrients…proper and balanced meals that cover the basics of the food pyramid. We, as parents, would not be doing our job if we simply threw chicken nuggets and mac and cheese into a blender, and then spoon fed that mess to our infants. It is ludicrous. Why then, do we apply that same mind-set to our toddlers? What happened to the green beans? To the peas? Where’s the beef?

Is it convenience?

I don’t think so. How is it more convenient to fix a “Kid Friendly” meal for your child, and then turn around to prepare something entirely different for you and your spouse? To me, that sounds like a nightmare…not to mention, you are denying your child a world of possibilities to taste and experience, while robbing them of vital nutrients that just cannot be found in food that is all the same color.

Years ago, I had a friend of mine who had children around the same age as my kids. I thought it would be nice to have her, her husband and their children over for dinner. Her prompt reply was acceptance on the condition that I was serving chicken nuggets. I literally laughed out loud. Why in the world would I be serving chicken nuggets? She clarified, and meant, for the kids. I replied with, “Oohhhh….yeah…no. We’re having spaghetti.” Evidently, her daughter, who was nine at the time, had not eaten a balanced meal since she was in the high chair, and now, as a nine-year-old wouldn’t eat anything but chicken nuggets.

Seriously?

How does that happen?

I’m sorry to say that this was not an isolated case. Over the years, I have run into many people, had countless kids come through my door that would not, could not, and some flat-out refuse to eat the food that I put in front of them. This continues today. My children are teenagers. I may not have a plethora of redeeming qualities, but the one I can count on is that I am an excellent cook. My dad is a phenomenal chef; I learned at his side. I grew up eating some weird, out of this world, bizarre foods. Those are not my style. I am more of a cross between Paula Dean meets Julia Child. If I am going to go to the trouble to cook something for you, the least you can do is taste it.

Here’s the skinny: Babies want what you have. Toddlers want to be big…to be just like you. Why would you, as the parent…as the ADULT, squelch that out of them, and divert power to something Kid Friendly? That makes no sense to me. Aren’t you tired enough at the end of the day? Why make two meals for dinner? No child is going to willingly starve themselves to death; ESPECIALLY, if real food is ALL THEY KNOW.

I’ve said this before, I mean it: Parenting is hard, and kids are smart. They know your weak spots. They are constantly on the lookout for new weaknesses. You have to be one step ahead of them. Don’t you think it should start with well-balanced meals? Be the parent.

Here’s hoping today is delicious!

-Dallas

So, what do you think?