It happens like clockwork. Every night, when we sit down for dinner (sounds crazy, I know, but we do it), my son James will take one look at his plate then immediately says, “nana” or banana.
This request frustrates me to no end. Many nights, I sit there seething, glaring at him while my daughter concurrently tries to eat as slow as possible. She picks at her food and spews out at least five sentences before putting two bites in her mouth.
But my daughter’s dinner habits are nowhere near as frustrating as my son’s. James always asks for a banana, and he always gets it. That’s because my husband and I realized that in order to keep the peace at the dinner table, it’s better to just give the little man what he wants. Besides, it’s just fruit. There are worse things to be addicted to, I suppose.
On days when we don’t have bananas on hand, and he asks for them, and we tell him no…boy oh boy–those are the nights when we all incur the wrath of James.
Luckily, tonight we do have bananas and as usual, my husband hands him one. He takes a bite of the banana while my husband and I eat and Lily chirps away with her words. My husband then said to James, “Here, try some.” (He does that a lot). He takes a tiny bit of the curry that he made and tries to get James to taste it.
Oh boy, I thought. Here we go. Another attempt, another failure.
But instead of refusing it, James reluctantly takes it in…and it was like my whole world erupted in fireworks. Then, much to my surprise, he asks for more!
“More!” he says, “More!”
It was at that moment I realized two things–one, my husband is brilliant! Not only can he cook waayyy better than me (I will never be able to compete, even if I become a better cook than I am now), he is also slick in his ways of getting our son to eat the foods he makes! This is why I married him! (Not the only reason, of course, just one of many).
As he continues to feed James, he said, “This is like that time he ate most of my duck curry at the Thai restaurant.”
Ahhh yes, I remember. Several weeks ago, we all went out to eat on New Year’s Day, at a Thai restaurant nearby and by husband ordered a roast duck curry, and he had to feed it to James because James was so into the sauce.
“I guess he’s a big fan of the saucy, pudding type of textures,” I said.
Just minutes before this event happened, I had lamented to my husband, “He eats like 50% of what you make, and like 10% of what I make,” to which he responded, “Well, at least he eats most of what I make.”
“It should be more like 80%,” I said.
Now, here I am, moments later, sitting there watching my son eat and realizing that not only is my husband a brilliant cook and good at toddler convincing, this is also like stepping back into the past.
You see–I was a picky eater myself. When I was around James’s age, I refused to eat most foods. It didn’t matter if it was catered by the world’s best chefs–the only thing I would eat is rice with sugar sprinkled on top. So my parents gave in and gave me that. It’s not really healthy and it certainly doesn’t help your teeth, but hey my parents are like us–they didn’t want a ruckus at the dinner table either.
Much to my chagrin, my son turned out to be pretty much the same way. Granted, he’s not as picky as I was–he still eats a lot of different foods for breakfast and his lunch is still a bottle of milk, but it’s only dinner when he gets the nerve to ask for a banana, knowing that he’ll get it every time. I, on the other hand, was very strict in what I would eat.
Luckily these days I am no longer a picky eater. I grew up to be a very flexible eater. I love trying new foods, and I’m open to just about everything.
See, that’s the thing that they don’t tell you–that if you were a picky eater yourself, you might end up with the same kind of kid! It’s a 50/50 chance but chances are pretty high to me. It’s almost like fate telling you, “Hey, how about them apples huh?”
I think we know for sure that James will eat curry in the future. And oatmeal. And yogurt. He loves all of those gelatinous, mushy, soft pudding-style kind of foods. He’s definitely my kid.