A major task in parenting is in ensuring that the children eat every day. This is an undertaking much easier said than done, not because of the shortage of food options for children, but because those options can be met with some level of resistance. I often have to exercise creativity in meal approaches to ensure as close to full tummies as possible.
With my Jrue, innovation is essential because he rarely eats. With my Jai, constraint is essential because she eats everything. I recall the troubles I had earlier in feeding Jrue in this post.
Our family quandary frequently involves what logically “goes together” on a plate.
Some child-centric meals correspond naturally. Hamburger and french fries is a classic American staple that is rarely protested. Just as popular and effective alternate duets in our home include fried chicken and macaroni and cheese; a sandwich and potato chips; spaghetti and meatballs; and bacon and eggs. As parents and caretakers are usually well-versed, because of the independence that children fight for, these meal duos can potentially get indecisive and messy. I watched a funny and completely empathetic experiment mommy Ilana conducted while taking children to restaurants on the blog Mommy Shorts.
When all fails, a go-to staple of mine is hot dogs and Tater Tots. It’s quick, easy, efficient at filling, and can be doused in ketchup.
Kids like ketchup.
This meal has all the perks of completing the job, but with little hassle, with the exception of thinking about where a hot dog comes from. For the sake of this post, I…will…not.
My nonchalance in this meal can be met with a periodic guilt when the kids have not had as many vegetables as I would like in a week. However, I do entertain the need for rationality while dealing with this parenthood job of many; assessing any aspect too deeply, even if just a singular, cut-up hot dog, is bound to make me crazy.
In an article for Scary Mommy aptly titled “Hot Dogs Are Not Poison…” mommy Sara writes, “. . .Treats are called treats because they’re for sometimes and because they feel good. Feeling good doesn’t have to be followed by feeling like you’re doing something wrong. Teaching my children to have a healthy relationship with food includes teaching them how to indulge without going overboard, and especially teaching them not to feel guilty about it afterward.”
Hot dogs and Tater Tots as a meal can serve as a metaphor for my little ones—they align unexpectedly in a pinch sometimes, but don’t classically coincide. In fact, Jrue and Jai already exhibit moments of all-out, motiveless combat, particularly when one or the other is sleepy, bored, or unmotivated. Jrue is currently at level “big brother low tolerance,” right at the pinnacle of his own warfare for sovereignty, so almost any action Jai takes, even if just entering the room he is in, causes a discord of yells to generate mommy or daddy’s attentions.
Like a bun-less hot dog and a collection of Tots on a plate, our two little ones are satisfying and crispy. For us, that’ll do.
Baker, Sara Farrell. “Hot Dogs Are Not Poison, and I Need to Chill Out About My Kid’s Food Choices.” Scary Mommy, n.d., http://www.scarymommy.com/kids-relationship-with-food/. Accessed Apr. 15, 2017.
Wiles, Ilana. “Dinner Dates With Toddlers.” Mommy Shorts, May 31, 2016, http://www.mommyshorts.com/2016/05/dinner-dates-toddlers.html. Accessed Apr. 12, 2017.