As I may have mentioned, once or twice, I have issues with food. More specifically, I have issues with LittleBear and food. And, in a completely unsurprising fashion, I am therefore inducing Issues With Food in my son.
BigBear and I both got collective bees in our bonnets about the tediously restricted range of food that LittleBear is prepared to consider, and have attempted, again, to persuade him to at least try new foods. This has been about as successful as every other attempt we have made.
We wrote a list, because all plans need a list. My life wouldn't function without a list. We involved LittleBear in the writing of the list, as we deliberated what foods he would consider trying. I explained about the existence of little pasta parcels that could have something inside them - he suggested chocolate. I explained that I'd like him to actually try some kind of sauce on pasta - he suggested chocolate. I asked him what kind of sandwiches he'd like to try - he suggested... you get the idea.
In the end, this was our list:
cheese and ham sandwich
some kind of pasta sauce
indian food - poppadom, naan, and vegetable-something
We've had... mixed success.
LittleBear ate a ham and cheese sandwich, with a certain level of reluctance, and declared that it was "OK, but I prefer just cheese."
He also ate macaroni-not-very-cheese, but was strangely "full" fairly rapidly. Though his pudding stomach was not full.
He is virtually reduced to tears at the thought of contemplating, let alone tasting, a tomato-based pasta sauce, so we're just pretending those don't exist.
Pesto was forcibly rejected.
Pasta with home-made pea-pesto was utterly abominable. And some of it fell on the floor. The cat ate it. We concluded that the ingredient responsible for LittleBear's hatred and the cat's love of this dish was the olive oil. LittleBear hates olives. The cat loves olives.
Carrot and butternut squash sauce was not acceptable. Even the cat didn't like it.
Cauliflower sauce was disgusting.
He asked me to make sweet potato sauce, and I refused.
Because, by this point, my exasperation levels were more than a little elevated. I wasn't making these random sauces up, and trying to enforce strange-vegetable-based products upon my son. He asked for these sauces. And, to the surprise of nobody who knows me, my exasperation was being expressed. Facially. Vocally. Physically. Imagine me, sitting slumped at the table, head in hands, muttering, "But it's what you asked for... I am NOT making any more sauces, when you won't even try the ones you ask me to make."
So LittleBear was getting upset, I was getting upset, BigBear was wincing in the corner. Once again I have managed to drive my son to the point of fear and desperation such that, once again, when faced with a new food, he curls in on himself and refuses to even consider tasting whatever monstrosity I have placed before him. Well done me. I've really improved the situation. I'm really mastering parenting here.
We went to the local Indian restaurant. LittleBear hoovered up boiled rice, poppadom and naan bread. He looked repulsed by daal. He nibbled the corners of saag aloo (too spicy) and onion bhaji (yucky). But this visit probably counts as the highlight of our food exploration, in that LittleBear voluntarily tasted utterly new foods.
And then, in the same week, kale, broccoli and cheddar sauce was delicious. And adhered to the
saucepan like superglue. What kind of child likes kale but not tomato
sauce? MiddleClassBear, that's who.
And, entirely by happenstance, one of LittleBear's topics at school this term is about the senses, with quite a bit of focus on taste. And this week's "Home-School Challenge" is to record the flavours of the different foods he eats over the weekend. He is being asked to categorise everything as Salt, Sweet, Sour, Bitter or Umami.
So, now we have a list of the things LittleBear has eaten this weekend. And so, once again, I am reminded of the surprising range of things my poppet does eat. And, yes, it's frustrating that they're not the same things other children eat, and they're not the "normal" things that make easy family meals, but they're varied, and interesting, and some of them even have flavour.
And I am making absolutely sure that I tell LittleBear how little I care whether he likes something, and that I will never, ever be cross just because he doesn't enjoy a new food, but also how proud I am of him for trying something new. In the vain and pathetic hope that I can undo some of the damage I've already done.