Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sam-I-Was

Legend has it that when I was just a young boy in short pants I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. And who isn't? So one day my mother, who found her own kids amusing even in a time before blogs, made me a big plate of green eggs using food coloring. If the storyteller is to be believed then I took one look at that plate of emerald embryos and ran shrieking in terror from the room.

One of The Quartet's favorite books is Green Eggs and Ham and I read it to them all the time as part of their Three Books At Bedtime routine. I still enjoy the story and I'm thrilled that the kids do as well, but someone really should address the 800-lb. fox in the box in the room. See, my kids, just like the protagonist, could not, would not, try new foods either. And this isn't lost on them. They realize, and comment upon, the fact that this is the point of the story, that this ... whatever he is ... doesn't like green eggs and ham simply because he's never tried them before. But they won't admit to their own culinary trepidations or that meat and eggs are one of the best sources for irony. They just won't admit that they're all chicken. Chicken nuggets only, of course.

16 comments:

Secret Agent Mom said...

I think the truly important message of this book is clear: don't eat green meat.

Stephanie said...

Connor knows all the words to, and will sing along with, a song called "Try It, You'll Like It!" from one of his cartoons. He does not see the irony.

Shannon said...

could you would you with a goat.

(one of the lines that will make it to my list of naughty lines from kid books.)

The Saucier said...

As a childless observer, could someone please explain to me why kids have to like every damn thing they eat?

Whatever happened to "Try it. You might like it. You might not. I don't care. It's good for you. Eat it!"

Except, of course, green meat. You really shouldn't eat green meat.

Shannon said...

the childless think we have control over the children.

we bribe with dessert. that works.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

May I direct the Saucier to a certain scene from "Mommy Dearest" involving a plate of bloody liver?

Children are people. They have a right to have control over their own bodies to a reasonable extent. I was certainly forced to eat foods I didn't like, and sometimes that force was quite forcible indeed. And you see how that turned out for me and my culinary idiosyncrasies. Maybe the childless fantasize about spending long, tearful hours over a plate of carrots at the dinner table, but some of us with actual children have to choose our battles more selectively.

The Saucier said...

I do not advocate beatings. I do not advocate force feeding liver and onions. Children are people. However, their "rights" are limited.

I understand choice. Most kids won't choose to eat broccoli. They also won't choose to take a bath, change their clothes, go to the doctor or share their toys.

I also understand choosing your battles. To me, proper nutrition is pretty freaking high on the list of things to fight for - along with scissors-free running and clean underwear.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

So how does one get children to put food in their mouths that they refuse to put in their mouths? I don't think you understand what this entails. It's literally hours of sitting at the table with a crying child trying by various methods to get them to take a bite of something, and in the end what has really been gained? The child is not going to eat enough of the food to make any difference, he still isn't going to willingly eat it the next time, and everyone will have spent a very stressful, exhausting evening. Maybe you are thinking of how you can eat food that you don't really love, and it's no big deal. Most children do not work that way. With a kid like JP, it's truly a phobia. I don't think you can know what that's like unless you have food phobias. You wouldn't force a child to hang out in a closet to get him over an irrational fear of enclosed spaces, and this is really not any different. As for nutrition, even as limited as JP's diet is, he's healthy and fit, he takes vitamins, and I'm just not that worried about it. He'll grow out of only eating his short list of foods, and so will most little kids who are picky eaters.

The Saucier said...

Boy. That's dramatic but not particularly fair. There are literally hundreds of techniques for introducing new foods into a kid's diet. Some of them are strict and even deceitful. None of them require hours of screaming, crying or torture. Most of them won't succeed. Some of them will.

Either JP has a food phobia or he's a picky eater. What's it gonna be? Phobias are serious illnesses that usually require treatment. Picky eaters simply have a limited diet that might not be very nutritious. A picky eater may or may not grow out of it. We've all known plenty of teenagers and adults who didn't.

That's all I'm saying. We can discuss it further tonight at dinner if you like. I hope we're getting pizza.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

A phobia is not a serious illness. It's an extreme irrational fear. People lead functional lives with phobias all the time. I would classify my feelings about certain foods as a true phobia, and other food likes and dislikes as simple preference. I'm still a somewhat picky eater, but I have outgrown my childhood fear of trying new things, and I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater. I am not afraid that JP will live out his whole life eating only PB&J on whole wheat, cheese pizza, and granola bars. He was a good eater as an older baby and toddler, and I did the best I could while I could still control what he ate. We've tried all kinds of things to get him to try new foods, including sneaking them in, paying him, threatening him...none of them has worked. And the one time he tried a new food (steak) and liked it, it made him terribly sick the next morning, so that didn't help.

If getting kids to eat and like new foods is so simple, why are there so many picky eaters? We must all either be lazy, bad parents who don't care about our kids, or ignorant and incapable of coming up with creative ways to get our kids to love broccoli, or both. Is that it?

The Saucier said...

Yes. That's it. That's exactly what I wrote.

Shannon said...

can i come to dinner tonight?

Elizabeth Alley said...

i feel the urge to stare blankly at RJA, which is what i usually do when the 2 of them have this kind of discussion.

Stacey Greenberg said...

warren went on a crusade to get jiro to eat potato soup last night. it involved crying, screaming, and ultimately, me with a handful of puke.

but back to you. sorry, but diet dr pepper flew out my nose when kristy said she considered herself a fairly adventurous eater.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

I will try almost any food that does not involve chunks of raw onion or a base of mayonnaise. I may not like it, but I'll try it. I like Greek, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican...and I can usually find at least one tolerable option among any category of Asian food now, even though I don't prefer those flavors or textures. I've tried one of every kind of sushi you people have presented me with. What do you want from me?

Kristy said...

And Indian! How could I forget Indian food?