YA author Derek Landy said, “The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.” Nothing has ever been more accurate in the grand scheme of parenting than this sentence. This one in particular is a WHOPPER, y’all. The grandest delusion.
Lie #54: When I have kids, they’re gonna eat what I serve. I will not go out of my way to fix them something different!
My sister, God bless her, had my niece a year and a half before I had my son. My niece is a delight, and in addition to all of her marvelous qualities, she is a great eater. She eats most of what my sister serves her. I, in my childless arrogance, declared that if my sister could do it, I could do it. “And why not?”, I asked myself. “Surely I can accomplish this; surely I can have a good eater. These people who talk about picky eaters just aren’t putting in enough effort.”
Fast forward to when Little Dude was 10 months old and eating everything I let him try. California Rolls, Butter Chicken, Gumbo, Spaghetti, Vegetables, Fruits – you name it, he ate it. With gusto. And I was proud, you hear me? Arrogant and completely annoying in my pride. The doctor was impressed and pleased. I was delighted. You’d hear me telling my other mom friends what a good little eater I had and
sympathetically (read: snottily) offer advice because I knew it all.
And God laughed. Karma smiled. Lady Luck chuckled.
Fast forward to a month ago, when my once fabulous eater turned down lunch one day. With a fiery temper on display. He doesn’t know that many words, but he knows “No” and “All Done” – he put them into major practice that lunch time. Um. What? Excuse me, what is this?
Thinking he just must have been still full from breakfast, I moved on and thought nothing more about it. No reason to panic, he’s still a good eater. That night I made rice & gravy, which is normally a favorite of my growing boy and presented him a hearty spoonful. “NOOO!!” he screamed at me, in hysterics, like I was offering him a big ole bite of poisonous lava. I tried again, and again, and again, with the EXACT. SAME. RESULT.
I got so frustrated that night. There were tears shed, his and mine, and exactly none of his dinner was consumed. He ate bread. And some fruit.
What am I supposed to do with this? Who is this kid? I tried, for the next few weeks to feed my baby meals I made for myself, but that I knew he would eat. Because I’m NOT gonna be that mom that makes meals specifically for her kid. I’m not gonna be the mom who gives into her kid. I am the PARENT. He is going to eat this meal!
He didn’t eat any of them. And with more tears and more frustration and more arguing with a one year old (please note: I do not recommend this method because one year olds are louder than you and while you might have more in your lexicon, they have more staying power), I got worn down, y’all.
See, I know it’s probably me. I know there’s probably something I’m doing wrong, but I can’t deal with spaghetti or rice or gumbo being spit at me. I can’t handle one more tantrum and my baby crying, “No mama” amidst tossing his sippy full of milk on the floor. I can’t fight him. Because he’s one. I don’t know what’s going on that he all of the sudden is refusing to eat. I hope it’s temporary. Tonight he refused rice and gravy again- he ate yogurt, blackberries, and an Eggo instead. There were no tears on his part, or mine.
I was wrong. I was arrogant. I thought I knew it all. I thought that moms who made other meals for their kids just didn’t try hard enough. They didn’t parent well because they were letting their kid “get one over” on them every night! That’s just bad parenting. LIES.
Your kid will break you down. And if they don’t break you down on this, they’re gonna break you down on something else. If I’m wrong, you are obviously the better parent and kudos to you. But my one year old doesn’t understand logic. He doesn’t understand “you’ll eat what I eat.” Until he gets older, if all he’s gonna eat is a grilled cheese and fruits and veggies, at least he’s eating his fruits and veggies. At least he’s eating yogurt too. At least he’s eating.
The biggest lies are the ones you tell yourself, y’all. Tell yourself that next time you get arrogant about your parenting methods. You’ll inevitably forget, but you’ll be reminded. At the most frustrating and inopportune time. Then just take a deep breath, laugh at yourself, kiss your kid, and join the rest of us learning as we go.