It’s just me and my oldest son sitting here at the dinner table. We’ve all finished our meals but my picky son lingers on. I sit with him to keep the pressure on him and sip the remains of my chardonnay.
Tonight’s difficult dinner is chicken nuggets, rice and green beans – torturous! I offered him some of my beef broccoli stir-fry just in case he had a more sophisticated palette but he started to gag at the suggestion.
Last night he foiled my parenting with, “Hey Mommy, it turns out you can still grow big and strong without eating your fruits and vegetables!” He has figured out that genetics is working to his advantage (I’m 5’10” and my husband is 6’3″).
I was a pretty picky eater as a kid and can remember lonely hours at the dinner table with angry parents reappearing to check up on my progress. “Eat that!” they’d say pointing an angry finger at me to underscore their authority. My most vivid dinner memory happened at my grandparent’s home. We were served stuffed peppers – yuck! Everyone finished and left the room to enjoy their evening and there I sat looking at a wrinkled stuffed pepper willing it to disappear. My grandparents had this huge lazy-Susan on their table and it was loaded with junk. There was a hurricane lamp encircled with dusty plastic fruit. There were pill containers, small weather radios, a dozen or so empty salt and pepper shakers, pink packages of coffee stained Sweet-n-Low; you get the picture. So my little nine year old mind figured I could cut up this stuffed pepper into little pieces and hide it among the treasures on the lazy susan. No one would know. Except half way through my plan, the hairs on my head started to prickle and I looked over to see my mother, arms crossed, looking right at me. I was caught. She spoke of her disappointment in me and excused me from the table to go straight to bed as she tossed the pepper and loaded the plate in the dishwasher. I was pretty upset but relieved that I wouldn’t see the pepper again at breakfast.
I don’t remember too many more dinner battles after that one. I’ve grown to like most foods and am not afraid to try new things. I’m hoping that my guy grows out of this phase too. He has choked down some rice and eaten a chicken nugget. After an hour at the dinner table, I’ve finally excused him from the table and like my mom, tossed the remains and loaded the plate in the dishwasher.