Bear with me here, this is a tough post to write.
My husband and I believe that meals times should be calm, loving and food should be enjoyed. And no, the kids don't get a choice for dinner. Well, actually they get two choices: take it or leave it.
On Sunday I made fruit filled pancakes. It's simple to make. Just add frozen fruit to the pancake batter. Frozen fruit can be found in the freezer section of your local grocery store.
Then my daughter, the wee eight year old Pancake, says, "Can you make my pancakes without fruit in it?"
We discuss this. No I say, I don't make separate orders. She fusses and whines. Now, this irritates me. I expect a lot from my kids and manners. They are not allowed to pick through their food. They are not allowed to insult any cook by saying something stinks or it tastes nasty. I have taught them phrases like, "It's a bit strong for me, but thank you anyway."
Manners are important.
So is trying different type of foods. The world is a big wonderful place, so many tastes and textures to explore. This is what I am instilling here, in my kid's. I want them to be cultured and knowledgeable with foods. I want them to taste the wonder of it all.
Ok ok, jeez, yes, yes- I realize they are only 8 and 4, I can realize I can calm down a bit. I know that! I'm working on it!!
So, back to the fruit filled pancakes and the stinkeye my daughter was giving me about them.
Then I said, "I don't think you realize what you have here. You have me, making you pancakes." I then wave my arms open, calling her attention to our house. "We have everything we need here, we have a house, warm heat and now these pancakes. You woke up in a warm bed today. Some people wake up in homeless shelters, some wake up in a parks. There are a lot of people out there who don't have this."
She is looking at me at this point, mouth all small, close circle. I have her attention. Then I say this.
"I have a patient who goes to dunkin donuts every day at 12.30. Do you know why they do this?"
"At 12.30, the morning donuts are thrown away in the Dumpster behind the building. My patient waits by the dumpster to scoop them out of the trash. They do this because they don't have food to eat. I also have a patient who brings empty milk jugs to the park every morning. Do you know why they do this?"
"Because they can't pay their water bill. They fill the jugs with water to bring home, so they can have something to drink."
At this point she is dead silent. Her eyes are welling up. I realize that I am affecting her. I am not entirely comfortable with this. Yet there it is.
"So, when you whine about fruit in your pancakes, you need to think a little bit about all that we have here. And then, that fruit won't be such a big deal."
Then we all sit down for breakfast. It's calm. She doesn't pick the fruit out, she doesn't whine, she doesn't really eat though. And she doesn't say anything. After a while she asks to be excused and toddles off.
Then, we go to the park, she plays all happy. Around lunch time she says she's hungry again. And we eat. And love each other because we are family.