Our family dinners are a scene straight out of A Christmas Story, except there are twice as many sons, and an overly-dramatic daughter. Oh, and I'm not in a freshly ironed dress, nor is Bert in a suit. And he does actually get off his butt to help, unlike the portrayal of the Fathers from the 50's.
Each evening, around 6ish, Bert and I form an assembly line to quickly dish out five dinners on brightly decorated plastic plates with separated compartments, so no foods EVER touch. Typically, there's some type of vegetable that won't be eaten, and a main course that will inevitably make one of the five gag. Questions start immediately, "Is this the meatloaf we had last time? Remember, I HATED that kind of meatloaf?.... Momma, why did you put green beans on my plate? Don't you remember that I'm allergic to green beans??.... Is this the chicken that makes me gag?.... Daddy, do you like this kind of chili? Well, I don't, so why does Momma keep makin' it?.... Can I just have a roll and mac and cheese instead of all that yucky stuff??... Daddy, why do you only cook french toast and eggs? Don't you know how to cook anything else? (Sometimes that question comes from Mommy too.)... I know there are starving kids who would love this dinner, so can I just send it to those kids instead??..."
The little ingrates all have their own personal favorite dishes. Unfortunately, with so many of them, and their ever-changing palettes, combined with the fact that they all look so much alike, I can't keep track of who will eat what. Not to mention, Her Highness will absolutely LOVE a meal one night, and the next day swear it makes her sick to her stomach to even think about ingesting. When it comes to dinner time, I can't win for losing.
Most days, picky eating is not a battle I'm willing to fight. I refuse to become a short-order cook, so if after taste-testing, you truly hate what has been prepared, I'm happy to hand over the box of dry Cheerios and say have it at. That is your only alternative here. Bert is more of a stickler than I am, and will try to force vegetables down the kids, and guilt trip them with stories of starving children and how hard their Momma worked to cook it, so they would indeed be eating it. The battle of wills takes center stage, as all the pleasant partakers of dinner, still nibbling on their rolls and baked chicken, watch wide-eyed as Bert goes head to head with the most stubborn child of the evening... "You WILL try at least three BIG BITES of spinach before you get up from this table." Mouth clinched shut, the stubborn child will boldly shake his/her head no, then bravely stare back at Bert to wait for his next move in this game of dinner-time chess. The pleasant partakers wait eagerly, for these battles almost always result to their benefit. "Fine, all the kids who ate their spinach get ice cream.... with chocolate syrup." Bert will say, raising his eyebrows to the kids who are finishing their plates. Sometimes the peer pressure works, and the stubborn child will cave. Sometimes it doesn't and the show down continues.
Wanna join us for dinner soon?? The offer's always on the table.