All in all, I have to say that I’m a pretty good mom. I take The Goose to cool places, I don’t hassle him about making messes, and I encourage him to be himself, no matter what. But one thing I no longer do, however, is try to make food fun. Here’s why.
The Goose has never been much of a breakfast eater. He cries over waffles, doesn’t like hash browns, and refuses to even try eating toast. It’s always been a struggle – so when I found foods that didn’t mind eating, I made them over and over. For The Goose, there were only two foods that I could consistently feed him for breakfast without him crying, throwing a tantrum or refusing to eat. One was oatmeal and the other was scrambled eggs topped with cheese.
A few days ago I was perusing Facebook when I came upon a friend’s status that really struck a chord. She wrote about being busy with kids activities, meetings, and work and all the stress that comes along with it. But she wasn’t complaining. Instead, she was grateful. Grateful to have a job that she enjoyed. Grateful that her children have the opportunity to do so many things. Happy to be the ‘good kind’ of busy.
As I read what she wrote, I started thinking about my life. How things have been so incredibly busy since the start of school because of The Goose’s swim classes, soccer practice and cub scout meetings, PTO meetings, festivals, baseball games, popcorn selling, Etsy orders to fill, food to cook, and a house to clean. In fact, for 13 straight days we had a commitment each and every day.
I love to cook, so when I’m home I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And when The Goose is home with me, he likes to be right there with me. He loves helping out in the kitchen, whether it is making his own dinner (he makes a mean turkey and tomato sandwich), or choosing a recipe out of his favorite new cookbook (C is for Cooking). He always tries to be helpful… and sometimes he actually is.
If you’re new to cooking with kids, here are a few tips to make it a little easier on both of you…
The Goose is not a morning person. And neither am I. As you can imagine, this makes for an interesting, and frustrating, start to the day. Especially on school days when he needs to get up, get dressed, pack his backpack and be ready to leave the house before the bus comes. But the worst part of all? Breakfast. Hands down.
Well, the problem comes from choosing. When The Goose is groggy, upset that he can’t use the iPad before school, or irritated that I made him get dressed, the last thing he wants to do is eat a healthy breakfast. And just how does he remind me of his unhappiness? By doing the one thing he knows makes me crazy: refusing to choose. Or choosing the one thing we don’t have. Or choosing something and then, when it is placed in front of him, crying because it wasn’t what he really wanted.
During the summer, grilled chicken salad is one of our favorite go-to meals, especially on busy nights. Not only does grilling give us a chance to eat on our patio (which is one of The Goose’s favorite things to do), it also doesn’t heat up the house and it gives us a chance to pick fresh vegetables from our gardens. (We have a large family garden and The Goose has his own garden, too.) Take it from me – If you’ve never had a chance to eat a fresh picked cucumber, you are really missing out.
Because I’m such a picky eater, I’ve worked really hard to make sure that The Goose doesn’t follow in my footsteps. When he was a baby, and first began eating solid foods, I made all of his baby food at home. I began introducing him to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (like mango, kiwi, cauliflower, peas and avocado) – all foods that I would never, ever have tried eating as a child (or as an adult, for that matter). Thankfully, all of my efforts paid off. Nowadays, The Goose is a big veggie eater. He loves fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and even eats raw green beans right out of the garden! He is also a fan of broccoli, corn, and sugar snap peas.
I have a confession. I am not a morning person. I never have been, and I probably never will be. If I had my way, I’d stay up until midnight and sleep until 10:00 in the morning every day. But, with a family to take care of, chores to do, and a kid who is always up before 8:00, I’ve done my best to adapt.
Because I’m not a morning person, it takes a lot of effort for me to get up and get going every day. Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned that there are five ways to ruin my day before it even starts. They are…
What summer looks like for The Goose…
He plays with the hose… and sometimes he accidentally sprays himself in the face.
He goes to Music in the Park and then he dangles his feet in the fountain… He tries really hard not to get his pants wet. But he is rarely successful.
The Goose is the type of kid who needs routine. He likes knowing what to expect, has a hard time transitioning between activities, and “What day is it today?” is always the first thing he says to me each morning.
Now, since I can’t predict what is going to happen every minute of every day, you can imagine how difficult these long summer days can be. Especially when plans change unexpectedly. Like when a play date is postponed because one of his friends is sick, a trip to the beach is cancelled because of bad weather, or we need to make an unexpected trip to the grocery store.
A few weeks ago, The Goose and I were at the park when we ran into a few kids he knew from school. They were all playing together nicely – until a game of tag broke out. The Goose, being the youngest and most inexperienced tag player, was the first one to be ‘it’. Everything was fine until I noticed something that really irked me – every time The Goose would get close to tagging one of the other kids, they would quickly yell “Time out!” and declare that he couldn’t tag them.
In this situation I had two choices. I could speak up and tell the kids that they weren’t playing fair. Or, I could sit down and let the kids work it out on their own.
When it comes to food, my husband will eat anything. If it’s on his plate, he’ll try it without hesitation. Even when dinner doesn’t go as planned, I know he’ll eat it without complaint. And he’s happy as can be eating a plate full of leftovers for dinner once a week. (Spaghetti, taco cups and potato salad? No problem!)
And then there’s me… the picky eater.