I’ve mentioned before, my 4-year-old son has, at times, been a bit… reluctant… about this switch to real food. He has a preschooler’s palate, loves noodles with butter, Chef Boyardee, and chicken nuggets. But somehow, some way, I seem to be getting through to him. First, there was the asparagus. Then the chili lime tilapia. Today, Mama Pea’s Zucchini and Quinoa Lasagna.
When I asked J-Man a couple of days ago to help me pick out a recipe to make, he selected this “sandwich“, otherwise known as Zucchini and Quinoa Lasagna from Mama Pea. I can see how it resembles a sandwich. In the interest of full disclosure, I told him it was not, in fact, a sandwich, but layers of rice (close enough) and squash (again, close enough). He was cool with that.
He watched me prepare the recipe. He saw everything that went in it. He saw it go into the oven cold and come out hot and bubbly. He was still cool with it.
When I picked him up from school and said we’d be having Zucchini and Quinoa Lasagna for dinner (with a side of chicken nuggets. We are a work in progress…), he was cool with that.
I plated his meal — Zucchini and Quinoa Lasagna surrounded by chicken nuggets — and placed it in front of him. And he was…
not cool with that.
I did everything the parent of a picky eater is supposed to do. Involved him in picking the recipe. Involved him in preparing the meal. Informed him ahead of time about what we’d be eating. Serve the new food along with an old favorite.
Cue the Waterworks.
*tears pouring down his face* WAHHHHH, NOOOOO, I WON’T EAT THIS, I WON’T, TAKE IT BACK, NOOOO, WAHHHHH!!!
I stayed cool, told him to just eat the nuggets if he didn’t want the “sandwich”. (<– note, during tantrums, use words the child is familiar and comfortable with. Stop insisting he refer to it as quinoa.)
I WON’T EAT THE NUGGETS UNTIL THIS STUFF IS GONE, I WON’T DO IT, I WON’T, NOOOOO, WAHHHHH!!!!! (*tears flowing*)
I turned to him and said “J-Man, listen. There is nothing evil in there. It’s all food that you like. Squash. Rice. (close enough) Pasta Sauce (he doesn’t really like pasta sauce, so this was sort of a Jedi mind trick). I am not trying to trick you. I wouldn’t give you food if I didn’t think you’d like it. If you don’t want to eat it, that’s fine, but I’m not taking it off your plate. Eat around it.”
The tears stopped. He looked curiously at the lasagna but did not touch it. I sat down, with the exact same meal he had (oh yes, I do love my nuggets now and then, too!) and dug in.
J-Man takes his fork and sticks it in a chicken nugget. “Mommy, look, I’d eat the sandwich, but my fork is stuck. I can’t eat it because my fork is stuck in the nugget. I would, but I can’t.” (<– clever kid)
So, I took my fork, scooped up a little bit of quinoa and held it out for him. He tentatively opened his mouth and ate it.
… suspense …
“That’s yummy!” Within about five minutes, he’d eaten it all. Quinoa, zucchini, onions (I did not tell him about the onions!), everything.
“Is there any more of that? Can we have it again tomorrow?”
Yes we can, J-Man, yes we can.
(*** I should also mention, my husband devoured a huge plate of this stuff. He said it was the best of the new recipes I’d tried this year. Winning!)
I hope you’re looking forward to the Friday Favorites link party on Friday! All you need to do is post a “Friday Favorites” post or include a “Friday Favorites” section in your post, and link up to the party. (Unabashedly modeled off Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday!) I am really looking forward to finding out what everyone’s loving!!! And don’t forget to showcase your favorite blog posts of the week. It’s a great way to share your favorite bloggers with the community.