I am the opposite of sly.
Dinner at my new Boca Casa tonight will consist of burrata balls, arugula, grape tomatoes, a ribbon of pesto, a whirl of Olio Santo and a smear of balsamic syrup. Because I refuse, absolutely refuse, to be a hotdog chicken and fries mama. Not happening.
Though the big question is, will the kids eat it? And can I be that mom? The one who says, “Eat that, or eat nothing. If you’re hungry, really hungry, you’ll eat it.” I tried it last night when I offered up a bowl of tofu.
“Yuck,” Abigail said once I told her tofu was for dinner.
“Don’t be rude. If you don’t like something, after you try it, then you say ‘no thank you.'” And then you go hungry, my friend.
Then, I got them involved in the cooking. Because you want to taste and enjoy what you make. We had a measuring spoon mashup, where they learned how to level, helped me count and pour. Smell. Taste. “Mama, what’s a scallion?” Immediately I thought, a young little onion who refused to take a bath, so she turned green! But downright foul didn’t seem like the way to go.
“It’s a green onion that makes cream cheese taste even better! Here, taste a sliver.”
“Mmm. I like it.” And yet, when I served up the tofu, she picked out every last scallion declaring, “I don’t like the green things.” Then eat around them.
She pushed the tofu cubes across her plate, then looked up and said, “I’m not fond of this.” And what can I do? She did try it.
What I did: “Okay, so you don’t like it. You tried it, you eat it or you don’t eat it, but you sit here until everyone’s through eating.”
Yes, but then I chased the proud words with the worst, cringe-worthy, I swore never ever to do this words: “And there’s no chocolate chip cookie unless you eat your dinner.” Cringe.
But here’s where I stayed strong. I did not offer her anything else to eat. No separate meal. I did not make her clear her plate. I simply told her to eat until she didn’t feel hungry, or not eat at all.
By the way, the tofu was absurdly good. But, uh, no, Lucas wouldn’t touch it until he saw a cookie. Bad bad parenting. Not doing that again. Take your burrata balls or go home (hungry).