Thursday, November 29, 2012


Before we start talking turkey over here, I first want to tell you about the Great Lasagna Battle of 2012 which took place in our house last week. Despite the fact that all of the best-selling parenting books, all of the feel-good mommy blogs, and just about anyone you meet will tell you not to make an issue with your kids and food, I take exception to the small, non-cooking, picky eater who lives with us.

Jack hates both soup and pasta. This is a problem because we practically live on pasta during the summer and soup during the winter. This is also a problem because he is stubborn when it comes to food and I am equally stubborn when it comes to food. He once refused to eat broccoli for a year. A YEAR! And do you know what I did? I just kept on putting it in front of him day after day, month after month, you get the idea, until one day he decided he liked broccoli again and life was good.

Until I made a lasagna. Now, not to toot my own horn or anything, but I am a fairly decent cook and I make a damn fine lasagna. In our house the rule is that you eat as many bites as your age. So Jack had to eat 5 bites of lasagna to be done with dinner. Or else.

And here's where we screwed up. You've heard that threat about saving it for breakfast, right? That idle threat that sends fear deep into the heart of lasagna-hating kids everywhere? Well, we dropped it, The mother of all dinnertime threats. 

I figured it was a done deal. Jack is a fairly intelligent kid, he would surely realize the error of his ways and the unyielding authority of his parents and finish those five bites post haste.

Except that he didn't. He crossed his arms and scowled at his plate. "Fine then," he grumbled and we sent him off to bed. At this point I was feeling a weird mix of guilt (what kind of a parent sends their kid to bed hungry?) and triumph (come breakfast time, victory will be mine!).

Can you guess what happened next? While we all broke fast over granola and yogurt and toast and fruit, Jack glowered at his plate of cold lasagna and continued his hunger strike. What's both funny and sad about this story is that this took place on a Friday, the day when Jack goes a half day to school and they don't serve lunch. I wanted to cave at this point and pour the kid some Cheerios. So did Brent, but we were in too deep! There was no turning back!

And so we sent our hungry kid to school. I wondered if he would report our neglect to his teacher. Would she side with him and offer him a granola bar and a trip to the guidance counselor? To complicate things even further, we had arranged for Jack's friend Quentin to come home with him after school and to stay for dinner. Would Quentin go home to report that Jack's parents don't let him eat?

I decided to overcompensate. I made cookies. Isn't that what good moms do when their kids have playdates? 

By the time Jack got home from school, he was pale and cranky. He glanced half-heartedly at the plate of lasagna. He kept complaining about how tired he was as Sawyer and Quentin snacked on cookies and commandeered the playhouse. He cried. He flopped on the floor.

And then I gave up. I just couldn't take it anymore! He was too pathetic.

He did eat those five bites of lasagna. I fed them to him like a mama bird and alternated with bites of carrot cake cookies. And then he perked right up and asked for a turkey sandwich. And then he wanted a string cheese. And he ate three pieces of pizza for dinner. That kid was hungry.

So, what did we learn from this episode? Well, I'm sure Jack learned that his mom is a sucker for hypoglycemic meltdowns. Hell, I learned that I am a sucker for hypoglycemic meltdowns. I also learned that not every moment is a teachable moment. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat and move on. After all, it's only lasagna.

So, moving on! Sawyer is a big brother. He takes this role quite seriously.

We had our third annual Thanksgiving trip to the beach. My brother joined us and kept the kids busy with rousing games like "Let's Pull Sawyer's Arms Out of Their Sockets" (pictured below) and "Beach Sweeper" in which he chased and knocked down the kids with those gigantic seaweed kelp whip thingies. (Anyone know the official name for these? I would like to sound all scientific and stuff when I am telling you about this awesome game.)

Some traditions are worth keeping. This was our third non-traditional Thanksgiving feast. There was no turkey, no mashed potatoes, no stuffing, no green bean casserole, and NO PUMPKIN PIE. Our menu included salmon, maple roasted veggies, squash and potato gratin, an avocado and apple salad, wild rice with chanterelles, and A PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE! Oh. My. God. Screw you, pumpkin pie. There's a new sheriff in town.

The weather was somewhat cooperative. We had some rain, some shine, some wind, and some warm. We walked on the beach, we played board games, we napped, we read, we went to the Rogue Brewery, we ate and drank and were merry. It was fabulous.

Jack found Brent's old Gameboy in the closet. Since he is pretty sure Santa is bringing him an Xbox for Christmas, and we are pretty sure he is not, I think we'll let him keep the Gameboy until the novelty wears off. Or the batteries die.

I know that Thanksgiving related blogging typically includes at least some mention of gratitude. I am grateful. I am thankful. Life is full right now.

And now it's time to start planning the Christmas menu!

(Brent claims he is already tired of the Christmas music. How is that even possible?)

Just for Jack, we will NOT be serving lasagna. Or pasta. Or soup. But he is still not getting that Xbox.
(Maybe there will be some AA batteries in his stocking for that stupid Gameboy, though. I just might have to admit defeat once again.)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time over Thanksgiving. Clementine is more adorable with every pic you post, too!

    On Christmas Day, I think our family is doing a prime rib, potatoes au gratin, and probably green bean casserole instead of a big ham/turkey with every ridiculous side imaginable. The best part is that you can easily make up French dip sandwiches with leftovers the next day... which would mean two non-soup, non-pasta meals in a row! LOL

    I don't know if it will make you feel better or not, but Jack could be much worse, like Erin and I were as kids. I would literally eat only two kinds of fruit (apples and bananas) and five vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, and carrots). I also used my older sister status to convince Erin that tomatoes were disgusting after I saw her happily eating them out of our garden. Picky AND evil: not a good combination.

    Hope that Jack soon discovers how good pasta and soup can be. Good luck!