Monday, October 06, 2008

When Inspiration Strikes.

Sometimes, you just never know what might inspire a kid to try something new. Maybe it's something they've seen another child at school eat. Maybe it's something they've seen in a book, or on tv. All I know is, I'll take help from any corner. Two picky kids at the table makes for some sad dinner conversations at best. Which is why, you need a plan.

I try to keep an open mind about it, and hope for the best. For the past year now, I've been using a simple formula at mealtimes to keep my sanity. Both kids get three choices - an entree and two kid friendly sides. The entree may be something I've made for all of us for dinner, or it might be a kid approved choice. Some days you get lucky, and some days you don't. And if you choose to eat that night or not, that's up to you.

It's been working so far. Both of my kids are picky - one notoriously so. But with this approach, they both somehow keep growing, and I limit mealtime discussions to "whatever is on your plate - those are your choices." And that's it.

Once in awhile though, out of nowhere, my son will mention something that has caught his eye. Sometimes, his inspiration comes from books. We had a very successful streak last year with peas, after he got his hands on the book, "Little Pea," by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is a great picky-eater story about a pea and the lengths to which he will go to get some dessert. The twist lies in what he must eat first.

After reading the story, we had many a night at the table where peas made an appearance. And my son happily ate a handful or so. The book was such a hit with him, I brought it into school for his "special day" reading. He got a real kick out of seeing me read the story in school, and it got him to eat some more peas at the table that night.


This weeks inspiration comes from a book called, "Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Nights," by Anne Rockwell and Megan Halsey. In it, a boy finds the perfect pumpkin at the farm. He brings it home to carve up for Halloween. At the same time, his mother picks up a dozen smaller pumpkins to use for pumpkin pie. The first time we read this story, Jordan decided that pumpkin pie was something he really needed to try.

"I'd like to try that, Mommy!" He said.

"Are you sure? Have you ever had pumpkin pie?" I answered, internally debating how much of an effort this was going to take on my part.

"I'd really like to try some. Mommy, let's make pumpkin pie together!"

Ok, that seals the deal for me. Any time I can get him into the kitchen to help make something, I'm game. On the agenda this week, will be pumpkin pie. Unlike years past, I think I'm actually going to try and make it from scratch, just like the lady in the book. Part of me is thinking if I involve Jordan in the process - scooping out seeds, and what have you - maybe he'll be more inclined to try it. And maybe this might be a gateway to trying other things, like pumpkin breads or roasted pumpkins? I can dream right?

Thank God I love pie.
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