Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My children are so appreciative of my efforts to cook a traditional Japanese meal for them.

I found a food blog recently that I really like.  The author lived in Japan for awhile and many of her recipes are Japanese inspired.  She has two young daughters, and often writes about how her girls "inhale" the new, healthy, and delicious dishes she serves to them.  Tonight I decided to try Oyakodon.  It's a very traditional Japanese dish.  Rice, chicken, egg - simple ingredients to make a simple Japanese meal.  Here is the result: 

I suppose this is funny.  I'm sure I will laugh about it eventually - maybe even tomorrow.  But for now, here's my full disclosure.  I was MAD.  Beaver is such a freaker about food.  If something isn't served just as he expects it, he cries, he sobs, he screams, he won't even touch it.  If the end of his banana breaks off, it's like the world is coming to an end.  I told him we were having chicken and rice, but when I served it all in one bowl, boy, you would think I just served him a bowl of mud and told him to eat it.  It is so frustrating to me.  Honestly, look at his reaction (and the video doesn't really do it justice).  All because I am trying to FEED HIM!  I tried ignoring him for awhile.  But when he gets mad, he often starts to throw things.  He threw his chopsticks across the table, and I exploded.  I try not to yell at my kids, but I sure yelled tonight.  I grabbed him out of his chair, marched him upstairs and tossed him onto his bed.  Then I stormed back downstairs, snatched his food off the table, threw it in the garbage, and shoved his dishes into the sink - all while Bear shrunk into his chair and peered over the top of the book he was reading.  It was not my finest parenting moment.

I went outside to cool down and to text Mike that I was ready to quit my job.  Then I took a deep breath and went back inside.  The thing is, this is a fight that Beaver will always win.  He will get his way, or I will pay for it the rest of the night.  If I left him in his room, he would fall asleep, wake up a couple of hours later, and be up half the night.  I could tell him fine, he could go without dinner, but then he would be hungry and spend the evening crying and we would all be miserable.  You could say, let him cry, if he gets hungry enough he will eat, but it isn't true.  I remember my mom telling me once that kids will starve before they eat something they don't like, and I didn't believe her.  Now I do.  Maybe by Bear's age you can use that on them - by then they have enough self control to force themselves to eat something (and Bear did just that, so he escaped my wrath).  But at age three, they really won't.  He would have gone hungry first.  So, I settled myself down, brought Beaver back downstairs, and gave him a bowl of plain rice with soy sauce and a couple of carrot sticks, which he ate up.  He won.

You might suggest that it is my own fault.  That kids eat what they are exposed to, and if mine won't try new things, it's because I steeped them in a traditional American diet, but it isn't true!  I swear I did everything by the book!  I introduced vegetables first, and I have always made a conscious effort to serve them a healthy, varied diet.  It didn't work!  Now, here we are in Japan and they turn up their noses at half the food that I make.  I feel a little better when I remind myself that Beaver has been suspicious of food from the first bite of rice cereal that entered his mouth.  Bear is another story.  He was a great, adventurous eater until age five.  I don't know what happened to him.    

Someone say something to make me feel better.  Tell me that Fujimama's spinach-eating kids are freaks, and mine are the normal ones.  Tell me that I am a good cook and they are missing out.  Or just tell me how you would handle such a situation.  I need some daily affirmation.     

Here's a secret:  The oyakodon was alright, but even I didn't love it.  Sigh.


christy said...

Oh this sounds very familiar to me. Avery says he doesn't like anything if it's new. I have to coerse him into trying it. Sometimes the kids like things and sometimes they don't but if they at least try it I'm not quite so upset. We make deals a lot, like if you take ten bites of this I'll let you have toast to fill you up. I often tell Avery that he likes it but he must have forgotten and it might work. If it's new and I don't like it I feel sad and trash it and we all eat cereal or something. If Cory and I like it, we make them finish. My kids try to get out of eating certain veggies but I bribe them to finish with dessert or tv. I feel your pain though. It will get better as he gets older. My kids ate pretty good in HK but they like rice and noodles and such anyway as long as it's not spicy.

Charity said...

Fujimama's spinach eating kids are freaks, and yours are normal.

And you are normal for your behavior. I've been there. I've done ALL the things you describe (except I didn't exactly make oyakodon). Dailie is 14, and still will not eat anything green, but she dances beautifully anyway : ).

Keep your chin up, and don't give up!! I say keep trying new stuff with them. I haven't given up. I still make Dailie put veggies on her plate (although she seems to know how to get away without eating them).

You're a great mom, because you care.

Lindsey said...

I have nothing supportive to say, except that I'm 99% sure I'll be in your shoes as Brennan grows older. Honestly, how can a BABY care so much about what he eats? He's SOOOO picky. And he always wins too - since I'll be the one paying all night if he's hungry because he chose not to eat carrots. Yogurt and applesauce - the staples of my 8-month old's diet. (Yes, I know they aren't supposed to eat dairy until their one, but oh well.)

kelsey said...

You wanted to quit your job. hahahahaha.

I just instituted a rule a couple of days ago that you can't say "yuck" as you sit down to the table. Nothing like slaving away over a meal only to hear yuck and gross as you serve it. Anyway, according to our new rule, you have to at least try everything, and if you don't like something, you can say, "no thank you," after you try it. So now what happens is as the kids sit down to dinner, I hear a chorus of "no thank you, no thank you." I have to remind them that they have to try it first, before they decline. And btw for them "trying it" usually means barely touching it to the tip of their tongues, but I let it count, because I don't want mealtime to be a battleground or an unpleasant experience. Seems like that would backfire in the long run. Bill and I are adventurous eaters, so I just hope that will rub off eventually! You're uber-healthy, so I'm sure your kids will end up that way. They're going through totally normal phases right now.

kelsey said...

P.S. Are you sure you're not poking him with a needle under the table?

Angela said...

Oh how familiar...we settled on a rule that they have to try one bite of everything on their plate. (it's usually a small bite, but at least enough to taste). But dessert is for people who eat their veggies first. At our house usually the food needs to be served separately (and so it doesn't touch the other food on the plate) so I often set aside some of everything before I mix it into a casserole or whatever. I don't think meal time is easy for anyone with kids! Hang in there! I think this gets easier as they get older--or maybe you just get used to it... :-)

Krista said...

Oh, Rachel...Hope you don't mind me blogstalking you. I read this post and it hit so close to home. My little girl, Sara, is pretty much the same way. I have to let her get her way or I am miserable for the rest of the day. I'm hoping it is the age and that eventually she will grow out of it (one can hope!). Good luck and if you come upon the solution please share!

Fran said...

Let's skype about it.

Mrs. Mike said...

Thanks for the affirmation, everyone! I can laugh at the video now.

Mom - yes, let's.