Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I considered titling this post "Thankless tasks," which is how I feel about the vast majority of the meals I serve these days. As many of you know, we have been in an ongoing struggle with Clare over trying new food. As a baby, she was a terrific eater, and then sometime around the age of two it all took a nosedive. She will no longer eat any meat, aside from the chicken nugget or hot dog variety - and even those things are hard-fought victories over the past year. She will not eat any pasta except for one very specific kind of macaroni and cheese. This list could go on and on. In retrospect, we've learned that we did several things wrong, not necessarily bringing her issues about but certainly not nipping them in the bud. Of course, it's not too late, and we're doing our best to bring about change.

With Danny, I feel as though I have a clean slate. I will not repeat the mistake of acting as a short-order chef with him. I continue to place things on his plate, ever optimistic that one day he will be hungry enough to taste it. I will say that Danny's food preferences are proof that God has a sense of humor, because he and Clare are polar opposites. Clare's saving grace is that she is a terrific consumer of fruits and vegetables. Danny, on the other hand, eats only freeze-dried bananas and strawberries, plus raisins. But he loves his meat and cheese!

By this point, if you're still reading this, you are probably asking yourself, "why is she writing about this now?" For one thing, I've been thinking about this off-and-on since Clare's recent doctor's appointment, because her BMI was just slightly higher than the doctor prefers (her weight percentage is a tad higher than her height percentage). This was not really a shock, as we had just returned from our spring break vacation where we let Clare eat pretty much whatever she wanted. A week at Grammy's is not the time to lay down the food laws! Once we were home, however, it was time to get back to basics. I've also been chatting about this over the past couple of days with my good friend Terri, who is experiencing similar challenges with her daughter. Sometimes this food situation can really make you feel like a failure as a parent, so it's always refreshing to find someone else - someone you respect, furthermore - who is in the trenches with you. Anyway, today I decided I was going to make turkey meatballs and spaghetti for dinner, and opted to make the meatballs early in the day. Since they were ready in time, I gave one to Danny for lunch. And he ate it! And liked it! Now, I don't know if what he really liked was his mastery of his fork while eating it - he pronounced "I did it!" every time he successfully stabbed a piece of meatball with his fork. What I do know is that he ate two whole meatballs, very happily. To top it all off, he ate two dried apricots today, too. Of course, when Clare came home from school and discovered we were having meatballs for dinner, there were instant tears. Evidently I will continue to win some and lose others - but I'm in it for the war, not every battle.