Our six-year-old recently announced that he is a vegetarian. As a self-professed vegetarian, he has determined that his diet will be thus:
- Chicken nuggets
- Hot dogs, bun optional
- Hard-boiled eggs
- White carbs (all)
- Babybel cheese
- Ice cream
- Every kind of candy ever invented
- Fruits and vegetables
To protect his vegetarianism, Six has taken to stating that he is allergic to anything not on the aforementioned list – which is often a surprise to people who will watch him eat a hard-boiled egg, only to be “allergic” to scrambled. Also, he is only a vegetarian on weekends and evenings because he likes his school’s pizza and walking tacos.
Our ten-year-old, on the other hand, will eat (or at least try) whatever is served to him; but if given the opportunity will choose one of the following three items:
- Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos (five words no mother has ever willingly strung together)
- Maruchan 5-for-$1 Ramen Noodle Soup
- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
As you can imagine, I – their loving mother and the primary cook in our household – have been a bit dismayed over their food choices. Having unofficially/officially determined that all parenting challenges are the karmic return of whatever was inflicted on one’s own parents, I was lamenting to Kyle that we should have two of the greatest eaters in history because I – their loving mother and the recipient of a million “This food is GROSS” reviews – have always eaten basically everything in the world. I’ll even eat food I don’t like; for example, I’m not a fan of coconut, but will still manage to put down all of my sons’ unwanted Almond Joys from their Halloween baskets.
Anyways, I was right in the middle of lecturing Kyle with a Forrest Gump-style list of all the meals I consumed as a child, when it dawned on me that Ten’s garbage palate IS actually my karmic fault. Here’s why:
Back in the days when a breakfast of Lucky Charms qualified as “eating the rainbow” of the food pyramid, my mother was magically-deliciously into tofu dinners and sliced cucumber snacks. On more than one occasion, she tried to convince my little sister and me that carob was the same as chocolate*. Not only was processed food not in her vocabulary, we were one of the last families to get a microwave because she read during the Red #40 scandal (Red #40 and the ozone layer caused cancer in the 1980s) that microwaves sucked all of the nutrients out of vegetables. The only time we got anything remotely close to junk food was when my dad would order takeout ribs and fries when my mom was out of town for work.
“Your mom is a genius,” you may be thinking. “You and your sister must have been the healthiest children on the planet.” Well, just like my son and his Doritos Locos Tacos – you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t keep her from getting her Kool-Aid somewhere else.
Which is what we did. My sister and I strategically chose our friends based on their access to processed food. If you were a kid in Grand Forks between 1987 and 1992 and your parents served Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, chances are we finagled a lunch or dinner invite at your house. We knew the exact amount of time it would take to walk down to Valley Dairy, get two Freezee Pop (Now flavored with Red #40!), and eat them before our mother came looking for us. Also, I played soccer just for the McDonald’s orange drink.
Obviously, at some point, I became my mother. Specifically, when my oldest was born and I unexpectedly/expectedly found myself blending up avocados and apples with my Baby Bullet because “I wasn’t sure what was in that store-bought baby food.” (PS, store-bought baby food is great. Also, that same kid once licked both a car tire and a lid from a can of turpentine so the avocado was more of a nice thought.)
At the same time I started going all-in on becoming my mother’s next-generation health nut, my mom went full grandma and started buying food flavored “Blue.” By the time my second child bounced into the picture (and I was too tired to make any more baby food), my mom and I met somewhere in the middle and came to an unspoken understanding that so long as the majority of food is made by nature, the rest of it can come from Taco Bell.
However, while this “a lot of good, a bit of crap” plan has worked well with my older son, it hasn’t been a recipe for success for my little vegetarian. After trying basically every method in the parenting book – bribes, letting him help cook, sitting him at the table until time and space have no meaning – I’m now onto hoping and praying that he’ll realize one day that variety is the spice of life. Until then, I’m going to keep aggressively Googling “Is it bad to eat only peanut butter sandwiches and nothing else.”
The photo above is of Kyle, who loves all kinds of food but is also sort of a picky eater, at a restaurant. The menu was back-lit, which was pretty nifty.
This week’s news has a request for birthday cards, (at least) three famous North Dakotans, and a battle of the books. Read on.
Minot’s Ray Curtis is turning 105 on Friday, and his friends want you to send him a birthday card. (KX Net)
Belfield’s Bill Palanuk has donated his mother’s book, Ukrainians in North Dakota: In Their Voices to every school in the state in order to help preserve the story of Ukrainian immigrants in North Dakota. (Dickinson Press)
If you’re a Super Bowl watcher, you should know that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow lived in Fargo in first and second grades… (Fargo Forum)
…And the Los Angeles Rams’ Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jamel Cooper, is from Grand Forks! (Grand Forks Herald)
Also, Bismarck’s Britta Curl is on her way to China as a part of the Team USA’s Women’s Hockey competition. (KFYR TV)
Near the Pioneer Museum in Watford City this weekend? Come on down for a Celebration of Hygge. (McKenzie County Farmer)
Bismarck’s Great Plains Food Bank served 121,000 meals last year. (KFYR TV)
This event should be called, “This is something Amanda would have FER SURE WON if it existed back when she was a fourth grader.” (Minot Daily News)
*Carob is not a food. It’s a punishment.