It's hard, right?
And anyone with children under six who says
* oh my children eat absolutely everything
* dinnertime is always such a relaxing time of day
* I satisfy my creativeness in the kitchen and my children play quietly somewhere else while I'm cooking
is a cyborg.
Really, they are. If you know one of these people I suggest checking all electrical currents nearby.
I know some households have share-cooking arrangement but I can only talk about the households I know where it's the women doing the thinking, shopping and cooking. (In the interest of full disclosure I should admit I have a share-cooking arrangement in my house. I shop and cook and Adam cleans. We've done it like this since way before kids which is lucky because I am the single most incompetent cleaner or dishwasher you've ever met. I hate cleaning, he hates cooking. Perfect.)
Anyway. Back to the dinner table at six o'clock at night with two tired children that just want something for dinner that they recognise. Except their mother is currently unable to face shopping for or cooking and certainly not eating any kind of meat at all. Not even tuna. So there's been a bunch of new dinners on the dinner table as I trawl through our vegetarian options and try to make sure everyone's getting enough iron and protein.
A few nights ago I made a delicious Nigella Lawson recipe, Pumpkin and Goats cheese lasagna, recipe here. Really yummy. Henry, usually relatively compliant with anything to do with pasta and/or pumpkin, flat out refused to try it. I cajoled Tilly into at least tasting it and she spat it out. Which of course you're not allowed to do here, but I don't think she's ever done it. I wasn't actually mad, I was just dejected. Then there was the spinach and goat's cheese frittata. Also very tasty. No go. Not at all. I was out that night having dinner with girlfriends and I'd made the frittata and left it for Ad to take out of the oven. He retreated to tinned soup from the back of the pantry which they also refused on the grounds it wasn't "good soup" and they had vegemite toast. They were lucky it was Daddy, not sure I would have fronted up the third option.
What are your tactics?
If they don't eat it, do they go to bed hungry?
I've never wanted food to become a battle. I don't make a big fiasco out of it and am relying on the fact that one day they'll understand I'm offering pretty tasty healthy food that is probably worth trying.
I also keep forgetting that when Henry was the age Tilly is now, he pretty much ate tinned spaghetti for about six months and not much else. That was all I could get him to eat. It was a phase, he grew out of it.
Tonight? I made broccoli, sweet potato and barley soup and Henry had two bowls and Tilly ate all hers, no argument. Weird children.
It's just that when it's you in the kitchen, and you serve up something you know is nutritious, and there are arguments and tears and lying down on the chairs and deliberately dropping of things under the table, it's just depressing.
So if it's ever happened to you, please know you're not alone. I'm raising my glass of water to you saying cheers, lady.
And as soon as I finish breast feeding this baby not even born yet, I'll be raising my glass of shiraz to you which always made dinnertime refusal a bit easier to take.
Cheers to that.