Ugh...tonight was a rough night at the Clemmer house.
I guess you could say I threw down a gauntlet. I made a casserole (horrors!!) Let's just say that Bryce is a picky eater, who does NOT like his food mixed together, OR have any kind of 'sauce' on it, OR have cheese in it - all of which the 'Country Chicken and Biscuits' that I made tonight had. After an hour and a half at the dinner table, and much weeping and gnashing of teeth, he finally managed to get down enough of it to be released. (Kate, Todd & I loved it the meal. The other two boys initially announced that they did NOT like it, before tasting it, then changed their minds after the first bite or two, and said it was pretty good. Then after watching Bryce carry on so, they decided to revert back to the original conclusion...but it was too late. They had already given away the truth, so they had to eat most of it as well. Sheesh!!)
My philosophy (pre-Bryce) was that I was not going to be one of 'those' parents who catered to a picky eater - let them get away with not eating, or worse yet, made something different for them! Hee hee...isn't it funny how we are all parenting experts - UNTIL WE HAVE KIDS!! Then all bets are off! We still stick with making our kids try at least a few bites of stuff, and even eat things they don't like, with a few exceptions. (For instance, Bryce HATES potatoes in most forms - other than chips, french fries or hash browns. It used to be such an issue that when he was younger he would wake up every day from his nap crying, asking (with fear and trepidation) if we were having potatoes for supper. To me, that kind of trauma was just unnecessary - especially for a food with so little nutritional value!) But we try to make the policy that they eat - or at least try - most things. (Note: I don't hold to this in public because it's just not worth it. I prefer to choose my battles wisely, but keep the most brutal ones to the confines of our home. We don't allow rudeness, but neither do we push things that we know they won't like. The kids are not allowed to ask for something different...if they choose not to eat what's served, then it's their choice to be hungry. If it's a better option to them to be hungry rather than eat something they don't like, so be it. But at least we avoid making an uncomfortable - for everyone - scene.) But I've found myself dreading meal planning and preparation just because of his responses. So I've sort of strengthened my resolve that he's old enough to just start dealing with more things, and I'm going to expand my meal repetoire.
I have to admit, I'm bracing myself for some big battles, but still hoping for the best. I think it might help to keep having discussions prior to the actual meal so Bryce can know and understand my resolve in this. I think he got a glimpse of it tonight, while he was gagging and starting to act like he might puke, when I stared him down, eye-to-eye, and informed him that if he chose to throw up, that he would also be cleaning it up...that I would NOT clean up one bit of it - he would do it all. Interesting...it stopped the gagging fairly quickly (though not immediately...I did get a bit nervous that he might cause us all to lose our supper before this battle was over!). I had trouble keeping my anger in check, and had to walk away from the table once and let Todd deal with him because I was about to lose my cool.
When I tucked him in bed tonight, after all the tears were dried and he had some time to play 'army' with his brothers, I informed him that I was going to be making more 'different' foods, and not just making things that he liked all the time. I told him that he was going to just learn to deal with it, and eat things, even that he might not love, and that we would not be having more mealtimes like tonight. He gave me a resigned "OK", and though I could tell he obviously wasn't thrilled, most of the 'fight' was out of him. I've seen so many changes in him in the past few years, and he's grown in so many ways, that I have great hopes that this will be another learning/growing experience that he will be able to take on and get through.
I'll keep you updated from the front lines...