Food Rules Suck

I thought I’d raise non-finicky eaters—kids who openly enjoyed the vast choices I put in front of them because I am a good cook and because they have been offered good food since they first got teeth.  I have never cut the crusts off of bread.  I don’t make my kids special food to eat at dinner.  I give them a big variety of foods throughout the day and week, mostly bought in the produce and dairy aisles.  I don’t get into food wars, don’t cajole them to eat one more bite, don’t make getting dessert the whole point of eating a meal.  I just consistently put healthy food choices in front of them.  And yet…

One of them likes everything cut in strips.  One likes everything cut in squares.  One just uses his hands to eat everything (and sadly, it’s not the youngest one).

One likes just butter on his pancakes, one likes just syrup, one likes butter and syrup.

One never likes butter on his toast unless there is also cinnamon sugar.  One only like butter on his toast.  One likes anything on toast.

One likes his pasta with just parmesan cheese on it.  One likes it with red sauce but no parmesan cheese.  One likes it with both red sauce and parmesan cheese.

One only likes graham crackers with peanut butter on them.  One only likes them plain.  One says he hates graham crackers, then proceeds to eat an entire bag of them.

One likes milk plain.  One only likes milk with a splash of coffee in it.  One likes milk either way but usually prefers water.

One likes his cheese sandwiches with mustard only.  One likes his cheese sandwiches with butter only.  One likes his cheese sandwiches with mustard, turkey, pickles, and peanut butter on them.

One hates oatmeal.  One likes it with raisins and brown sugar.  One likes it with raisins and brown sugar, but any other time he hates raisins.

One eats everything on his plate.  One picks and chooses.  One eats nothing on his plate but when a friend shows up with a bag of chips he manages to beg the whole thing off him and devour it, then ask for a treat because he ate so much “body food.”

When you put my boys all together they are a three-headed beast with the most particular, temperamental confusing feeding habits.  And the beast is hungry now.

Anytime I accidentally cut the wrong waffle into squares, anytime I accidentally put butter on the wrong piece of toast, anytime I offer the wrong kid raisins—I get yelled at.  I get raged at, screamed at, hated on, shot with laser beam eyes by the boys I love more than anything in the world. 

I used to serve them my heart on a plate.  My heart couldn’t take it.  Now I serve them plain old food on the plate, and it comes back with my mood on it, as determined by how my they all received the food.

Sometimes I think I know how villains are created.

Sticky finger ribs
Homemade macaroni and cheese
Roasted asparagus
Chocolate chip cookies

(Actually, this was the menu for last night.  I am posting it so I can tell you that Vincenzo ate one bite of the ribs and said he liked them but never took another bite.  Rocco took a bite, made a face, and said he didn’t like them.  Leo screamed  like a howler monkey when we tried to even put a piece on his plate.  Vincenzo ate all his mac ‘n cheese and said it was the best ever.  Rocco spontaneously burst into tears because I made it too cheesy and he only likes the kind from the box.  Leo was no longer at the table by the time we dished his up.  Vincenzo and Rocco ate the asparagus, though Rocco complained about it.  Leo returned to the table just long enough to scream when we tried to put the asparagus on his plate.  Then he left.  Surprisingly, everyone liked the chocolate chip cookies.)

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