Thursday, September 2, 2010

Black Bean Bullets

Mealtime is stressful for me.  

I find that by the time I get food on W's plate and hot food off the stove for the Mr., they're finished with their meals and looking for more before I even sit down.  If it's not that, W's launched his cup across the room and Lucy's in a frenzy trying to wrangle the wet noodle from her ear that W thoughtfully shared.    Or finally, the meal I have prepared is greeted with half-smiles, partial chewing and eventual spitting out.  

Nothing like a good self-confidence booster.

Preparing a meal for anyone can be a little nerve racking.  But to be at the mercy of a child...really stinks.  I recently read an article I found I could relate to.  Just the title was right up my alley:  "Dinner is on the Table...the Stairs...the Floor."  Hmmm, sounds familiar.

The other night W had already sent the first half of his meal into orbit and, after guests arrived, the latter half was tossed to the floor without so much as a hesitation.  Of course, he did have room for dessert. 

The author and award-winning food critic shares her frustrations of trying/attempting/slaving to nourish her children, not only for physical survival, but for the emotional, social and familial benefits of family mealtime.  

"Serving my kids a good healthy meal is only half the battle.  The bigger challenge is getting them to eat."  She goes on to say, "Eight out of every 10 meals I prepare are greeted with horror.  The dish as eaten by the tots contains nary a plant in a recognizable state, and we might as well tidy up the after-dinner kitchen with a fire hose."  

My mom was a HUGE family meal advocate and always prepared healthy, balanced, (looking back now I really see) delicious meals for us.  How did she do it?!  (And why didn't I appreciate it?!)  

Surely my siblings and I didn't complain, covertly stash food into our pockets and deposit in the toilet, or throw ourselves on to the floor at the thought of having to consume a green vegetable.  No way.

Sadly, karma...stinks.

To date, the best mealtime fiasco yet was just a few days ago.  I had prepared a hearty breakfast for W.  Eggs.  Toast.  Fruit.  Not bad for an 18-mo-old.  He ate the bananas, only smashing the last piece into his fist.  Pounded his forearm into the jammed-up side of toast, then threw his plate like a frisbee across the kitchen, eggs and all.  Hmmm, OK.  I can handle that.  But then Lucy polished off the eggs and scraps of toast, only to throw it up all up over the rug 30 seconds later.

Perfect morning.  Perfect.  

But alas, there is hope:
"I've come to think of family meals as a practice, much as one might practice yoga or meditation:  It's probably the journey, and not the destination, that matters most.  Although health experts will tell you that family mealtime is worth more than a treasure chest filled with gold and rubies, I'd still rather have rubies on the stairs than scrambled eggs.  But as I tell my kids, 'What's being served is what's being served.'  And that's OK."

I guess I'll be practicing this mealtime thing for a while.  I'm committed to it.  However, by the time I get it right my child(ren) will likely be moved away and scattered across the country.  Nonetheless, I'm a believer in spending time together over a meal, discussing the day, sharing stories and filling bellies.  I think we nourish ourselves in every way when we make time to break bread together.  I am so glad my mother put the countless hours and effort into answering the "what should we have for dinner" question day after day.  She never swayed from making sure our family sat around the table together every evening.  

I guess now I'm getting the payback I deserve.  


Ashley said...

Our Stake RS put together a conference a few months ago with a bunch of classes. I went to one on healthy eating and this girl's theory was fascinating to me. I was more there to get food ideas, but it was on how to make meals a pleasant time (for mom!) and expose kids to healthy foods. Anyway, it's way too much to put here, and W is probably a little young to start, but if you ever get desperate, send me a note! It's definitely a rigid thing (which doesn't fly in this house) but I could tell if you had difficult eaters, it could be a great thing.

Megan and Ben said...

Great post. Love your writing. I would say it is in our genes, but my blog is proof that that is wrong.
I miss you like mad. I felt closer to you reading this post. You are a super mom. I think I have scared Maria into keeping her blasted plate on her tray because my cat-like reflexes have grabbed it just as she was grabbing it to fling it into the other room...
I had to laugh tho as I read your post because I can see it all happening and the classic cherry-topper was Lucy's supportive dog barf. Oh Katie, you are super!

Lizbeth said...

Your posts seriously make me laugh my head off. I love it. Especially the thought of luciille barfing after gobbling up bubs food haha!

Lizbeth said...

Your posts seriously make me laugh my head off. I love it. Especially the thought of luciille barfing after gobbling up bubs food haha!