Since the day he was born, my last child and only boy has been snubbing his nose at whatever was offered for dinner. Yes, even when he was still on the milk diet. He has given me fits enough to send me to the funny farm on a permanent vacation. So the past 6 months, after a near complete Mamma breakdown, we instigated a new rule. The rule is simple. NOTHING negative can leave your mouth when refering to, commenting on, or even just inquiring about “dinner”.
That means you dont even state an opinion if it is not a favorite. It all goes back to the, “if you cant say something nice, dont say anything at all,” rule my mom used to drill into me and my brother. It’s common sense. But my kids were a clean slate and didnt come out of the womb knowing all this wonderful common knowledge. Who knew it took so much effort to make them learn how to live it out!
On any other normal evening, my son would have declared he hated dinner and wasnt going to eat it long before he even knew what it was. The first smell of cooking food would draw him in and begin the long, hated ritual of whining, fussing, and declarations of what I would have to give him in order for him to even attempt a bite. Sorry kid. You must have me pegged with a “made to order” cook or at least someone who cares if you like what I am fixing. I don’t DO negotiations. You can eat or be hungry. Period. I stopped worrying about my kids liking what was on tap for dinner after the second child came along. I admit I had a tendancy to fix what the little sweet girl wanted when she was an only child, but the idea of cooking 5 different meals for 5 different pallets is just absurd!
So now we have a rule. You can LOVE it and rave about it – or you can say nothing. No comments about not wanting it, hating it, no references to what it “looks like” (aka “dog poo”) or anything negative that may leave a mom feeling like she’s been rung through the ringer in her attempt to put a healthy meal on the table. We are trying to teach that these negatives can hurt even the toughest mom’s feelings on days she is trying hard and very tired. I think my kids are beginning to care about that a bit!
Tonight I was making dinner, and nothing grand mind you, but it was more effort than I felt I had in me at the time. My son came up to me and tried to see over the pan and figure out what I had made. I told him and he blinked at me, thought a minute and I could see the gogs and wheels turning. He nodded and said, ” I dont know that that is, but I’ll be happy with it,” then ran off. I stood shocked and realized something. Today was Day-1 of a victory that may have just begun. One where I no longer battle in a hand to hand combat with the dinner blues.
There are a lot of battles to be waged, lessons to be taught, and strides to be taken. But the dinner war may be on it’s way to being won. A little of the weight on my shoulders slipped off tonight and I grinned watching his redheaded mop bound out of the kitchen and leave peace in it’s wake. A grin rounded my cheeks and I nodded. Yes. Today is a day to remember. I’ll be happy with it too buddy… but for a whole ‘nother reason than you.