We parents use a lot of fighting words to describe our day-to-day; battle of wills, control game, reinforcement, rivalry. It all sounds pretty menacing, but mostly, we're just trying to stay sane and survive. Not exactly warrior types. More tired, frustrated and self-doubting types. At times, I am honestly not sure if I am winning or my child is.
Take, for example, the whole new food thing. I've never done the "you can't do/have "x" until you finish your dinner." I aim significantly lower. I set my sight on "just try one bite." If you don't like it, I add, you don't have to eat it." Granted there are times when this backfires completely and I get a masticated lump of something warm in the palm of my hand.
Then there are nights like this evening, where I am not sure who's winning, or what game we're playing. I made a ground lamb and couscous dish, topped with roasted vegetables and feta. I planned on resistance from an exhausted child, and placed kiwi fruit, edamame and cottage cheese — known favorites — alongside. Plus one tiny piece of cave-aged Gruyere cheese.
Kiddo eats the cheese. "Can I have more cheese?"
"Sure, I say, please try one bite of your other food while I get it." I load up a small forkful. There is flak. Eventually the lure of damn good cheese wins out. The forkful goes in and ... stays. In fact, I can tell, she likes it. I load up the fork again. Then go to get her another sliver of the good stuff. The fork is clean when I turn back. Ah, the game's begun now. We do this exchange a few more times. I load the fork up and make the cheese sliver smaller each time. Then, the Kiddo is full. Most of the dish has been eaten.
Now, I think, did the Kiddo win by having Mommy steppin' and fetchin,' or by eating her coucous and getting good cheese too? Or, did I win, because I got a healthy new dish under the radar? Who knows. I'm calling it a win-win and getting some sleep.
Roasted Vegetables, Lamb and Couscous
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.