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.