Recently Jake decided he wasn’t going to eat his vegetables anymore. I don’t love spending any part of dinner on cajoling kids to eat the food I went out of my way to prepare in a healthful, tasty way.
Earlier this week, we both put our foot down in what will forever be known as The Salad Standoff. Matt suggested we serve the salad first and then the rest of dinner so there was no room for discussion, debate or drama.
Jake immediately pushed his bowl away: “Don’t want ‘dat.” We calmly told him he had to eat his salad, like the rest of us, and then he could have dinner which would be followed by dessert. The rest of us ate in that order while Jake refused to take a single bite of salad, instead repeating “I don’t like salad! ‘Dat yucky!” again and again until we finally excused him from the table when we were all done eating.
I was a little worried about how nighttime would go but was confident in our choice to starve him out to teach him a healthy habit. For the record there was nothing in that salad he hasn’t eaten and liked before: spinach + goat cheese + sunflower seeds and Annie’s Goddess Dressing (Affiliate Link).
I can hear it now: You’d seriously send your kid to bed hungry because he wouldn’t eat his salad?
Totally. Because I’m the mom. And partially because of my own eating-disordered brain it is essential to me that we don’t create a pattern of control and drama around food. I know it might seem like that’s exactly what I did here but it wasn’t a new food. It was him being stubborn and me giving in a few times too many.
So, here is what happened:
Instead of starving to death, because he was truly hungry, as I was putting his pajamas on he looked at me with his big, owl brown eyes and said: “Mama, I hungee.”
“Do you want your salad?”
“Yes.” He said. I tried not to look shocked (or smug) as I carried him downstairs, back to the table where his salad was still waiting for him.
Here he is, happily, eating his salad. Which was followed by two servings of meatloaf and none of the mashed potatoes.
File under: battle picking.