I cracked up at this Wacky Mommy post about how her children only eat Macaroni & Cheese, and especially at the comments indicating that a lot of people’s children become pseudo vegetarians at some point or another. It’s hard to imagine that my 4-year-old, J will ever go through a phase like this. While my Little One often eats as though he’s a fruitarian (seriously, the kid would eat nothing but fruit and nuts if left to his own devices), J is the anti-vegetarian.
Last weekend I went out for the afternoon and when I came home to fed, bathed children waiting for Mama to read the bedtime stories so they could go to sleep I was in particularly good spirits. So when J asked, “Can we make pumpkin cake for breakfast tomorrow?”
I thought, Oh What the hell, it's Sunday.
But not to forget that I’m a nutrition fanatic even when I’m being nice, I said we could if we drank a glass of milk with it. And he said, “How about if we have some fruit with it instead?”
I told him that was a great idea, but we needed to drink some milk with it too. And he said, “How about pretzels, are they healthy enough?”
So I explained, “They’re not too bad, but we need to have something with protein: Milk, Cheese, Nuts, Peanut Butter, Eggs, Yogurt… Meat.”
To which he shouted, “Meat! Meat! I want a big chunk of meat!”
And he’s always been like this. The same way we joke the Little One is a fruitarian, when J was younger we used to say that he was on the Atkins Diet. Unfortunately we can’t make that joke anymore because sugar has taken over as his favorite food group, but meat is a close second. To illustrate, one day he said he didn’t feel well and that he needed “something with calcium.” When I asked him what he had in mind he answered, “How about ice cream or chicken bones.”
As he was learning about new foods, if there was a meat we couldn’t get him to try, all we had to do was show him a picture of the animal it came from and he’d happily wolf it down. I once served him a beautiful shrimp dinner that he wouldn’t touch… until I showed him a picture of a live shrimp (which nearly made me lose my appetite - they’re among the ugliest creatures ever), then he was ready to eat.
I have a book I started reading to him when he was a baby called My First Spanish Animal Board Book. And this is how it would go:
Mama: Lion. Can you say "el leon”?
J: Can we eat those?
Mama: No, we don’t eat lions. Cricket. Can you say “EL GRILLO”?
J: Do we eat crickets?
Mama: I think some people might eat crickets. But Mama doesn’t.
J: I wanna eat a cricket.
Mama: There are lots of crickets at Grandma’s in Arizona, maybe when we go there next time we can find some. Frog. Can you say “LA RANA”?
J: Does anybody eat frogs?
Mama: Great Grandma eats frog legs. Should we go to Indiana sometime and have frog legs with her?
J: (jumping up and down, shouting) I wanna go right now!
And on it would go.
He also wants to go to China to visit his godmother and eat pigeons. (Yes, I know he could eat “rats with wings” in an upscale U.S. restaurant, but not on my dime.) I’m telling you the kid’s never met a creature he didn’t want to eat. He really did chow down a big plate of frog legs at Great Grandma’s (I opted for the fried perch, thanks); however, so far I’ve been able to avoid having to refrain from barfing while watching him eat crickets. Now, if the time comes, I'll do my best to be a cool mom and nurture his sense of adventure, but I'll be ordering the Macaroni & Cheese for myself.