Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh, yeah. Parenting.

Right.  This is supposed to be a blog about parenting, and not just every little thought that crosses my mind.  I'll try to behave.

So, school starts for Ms. A. on Monday, and for me, and it feels a little like I'm a bull rider, lodged in the gate, waiting for the insane riotousness to begin.  I'm trying to stay calm, but that bull is a-buckin' underneath me, and not in a good way, either.  I'm reminded of the final scene of my favorite Steve Martin movie, Parenthood, where Martin's character is looking around at his kid's school play, which has gone terribly wrong, and he feels like he's on a parenting roller coaster, where nothing goes as planned, and it's making him sick.  Eventually he learns to enjoy the ride, but it takes him a while.

That's some metaphor-mixing for you:  bulls and roller coasters.  But that's pretty much parenting, as I see it.

Anyway, I did want to share one little revelation, for those of you who have kids and are struggling at all with picky eating.  You might remember that this was a serious issue for us not too long ago (now surpassed by our issues with Nolie waking up a gajillion times a night).  Nolie wouldn't eat anything, and we were making multiple meals every night.  Suck-o-rama.

Then, thanks to I-remember-not-which of the many blogs I try to keep up with, we stumbled upon the "Make-Your-Own-Whatever-Night" thing.  It started on Tuesdays ("Kids' night" at our house) where the kids chose pasta as the dinner theme, but all of us wanted different pastas.  Addie wanted red sauce, I wanted pesto, Nolie likes plain.

Eric is at work and doesn't get to choose.

Enter "Make-Your-Own-Pasta-Night."  I put out all the sauces, sautee up some veggies, put out some cheeses (soooo glad I'm not vegan anymore, though that's for a different post), put out olives, prepare a bowl of steaming-hot pasta, and WALLA! as Nolie would say.  Everyone's happy.  Not only that, but getting to choose which foods they want means the kids are more likely to try new things.  Nolie may say she only likes plain pasta, but now she's getting a little bit of olive oil, and putting tomatoes and olives on top.  It's a start.

We also do Make-Your-Own-Burrito night, and will soon add in Make-Your-Own-Soup/Salad/Sandwich-Night and Make-Your-Own-Pizza-Night.  It's a lot more dishes, but everyone gets to eat what they like, I feel less stressed, and the kids are trying new things.

There.  I have solved your picky-eating problems, and I'm exhausted.  Don't expect another parenting post for a long, long time.


  1. What a great idea! Thanks. I will definitely use that. Of course, all I put out will sit and not be used by the kids, only M and I...but I figure if I put it out and set a good example, they will eventually try new things on their pasta (veggies, sauces, etc...) right? The like plain also but they do get olive oil. I heard it takes 10 times of putting a new food in front of a kid for them to eat it more than just "try" it.

  2. Exactly! Or let them eat them separately. Who cares if they eat their tomatoes and carrots on the side? I prefer them mixed in, but no biggie. At least they're getting all kinds of food. Something about getting to serve themselves helps them want to try new things, too.

  3. So that 10 times theory must not work for carrots and mushrooms. Sigh... I am so sick of making carrots hoping they will eat it... Or should I say Bill and I are so sick and tired of eating leftover carrots and mushrooms. I am going to try the "make your own pasta sauce" idea. Thanks! Stay tuned.

  4. Yeah, mushrooms are tough. I only really liked them myself a few years ago. In fact, I was an insanely picky kid myself. So I'm trying to keep that in mind, and also continually push their boundaries a little. Keep us posted :).