February 22, 2011

For the Health of It

I am so proud of myself.

I almost gave in so many times.  But I didn't.  Don't tell Luke about my waffling.

Last night for dinner I made salmon and lime roasted sweet potatoes.  I knew Jack would be exhilarated by this menu choice.  Luke, however, was not a fan.  I knew this going into the dinner showdown.  That's why I only put four bites of salmon on his plate and told him he had to eat all the salmon and only three chunks of sweet potatoes.

He eyed his plate with disdain.  His brows furrowed and the lower lip protruded.  I heard a lot of "hmph's" and exaggerated gulps.  I ignored them all.

Jack gobbled his down and asked for a second and third helping of salmon.  After I cleared our plates and did all the dishes, guess who was still staring down his plate, trying to will it away?  Yep, the same one who eats anything Papa puts in front of him with an enticing, "Try it, it's delicious!"  The one and only who spent hours with Papa in a dingy and ate more than four bites of their plunders.  Last night, I needed my dad's endorsement of this meal.  Things would have probably gone differently.

At 7:50 p.m., with ten minutes to go before bedtime, the goofball had eaten one bite of each.  It didn't quite cut it but I seriously considered ending the standoff and giving in.  Instead, I stood my ground.  I set the kitchen timer for ten minutes and told him if he didn't finish, he would be eating salmon and sweet potatoes for breakfast the next day.  My mother would be so proud.  She introduced me to the dreaded timer.  Because of her, I choked down many a meal and ultimately learned that those healthy meals actually do taste pretty good.  My health conscience is thanking her for not budging.

At 8 o'clock sharp the beep sounded throughout the kitchen and I went to dig out the plastic wrap.  There were tears of course.  Mine were internal, his were not.  Who really wants to eat that for breakfast?  I wouldn't either, but the ground had to be stood upon.

This morning, Tim was packing for his business trip and Luke came in.  His first words were not, "Oh Daddy, I'm going to miss you so much!" nor "Good Morning!"  They were a sullen, "Mommy said I have to eat salmon and potatoes for breakfast."  Tim stifled a laugh and asked for the story.  I think Luke was hoping for an ally in this standoff.  No such luck.

Luke took his time coming downstairs for breakfast.  I silently heated up the leftovers.  He choked down two more bites.  By the time we had to leave for the airport, all the sweet potatoes and one bite of the salmon were left.  Tim encouraged him with a, "Dude, your almost done!  Just a few more bites."  With a reckless surge of hope, Luke shoved the last salmon bite into his mouth.

Did you know that some food expands in your mouth?  I didn't either.  Not until I realized that Luke was talking through chewing his fish cud from the backseat of the car.  Yep, that last bite hadn't made it down yet.  Tim got a fishy kiss goodbye at the airport.

The next stop was the bank.  He didn't get to enjoy the lollipop given out at the drive-through.  His cheek had expanded even more.  The enzymes in his mouth had started breaking down the food for digestion creating a delicious fishy mush.  Mmmmm.

Earlier, I had promised the boys that we could go to the park after we dropped Daddy off at the airport.  This was my attempt to cheer them up and busy myself so I wouldn't have to think about missing Tim.  On the way to the park, I informed Mr. Stubborn that he would have to sit on the park bench until he swallowed his mouthful.  No sense in risking having to use the Heimlich.  It worked.  He swallowed.  Hallelujah!  And no, I didn't find a ball of partially digested salmon mush on the floorboards of the van.

The message must have been clear because there was no complaining as the remaining three bites of sweet potatoes were consumed at lunch time.

Now I realize that this may seem like a pissing contest to you.  To me, it was a victory.  Not for myself, but for Luke.  Hopefully there will be less complaining when he doesn't particularly enjoy the healthy food put in front of him.  I understand that he won't like everything.  He will, however, be exposed to all sorts of healthy, balanced meals and later be able to choose wisely what to put in his body.  He might even be caught grilling up some sort of pink fish and orange veggies.  Who knows.

Luke's adult body and healthy heart can thank me later.  For now, your welcome.


John and Sarah Pell said...

Good job mom!! We just instituted the "you eat what we eat" for dinner and it is working with Emma. She has eaten a lot of things I would not have expected her to eat. Our rule is that she eats it or goes hungry but didn't think about you eat it for breakfast. Hmmmm...I will have to decide when I am ready for that stand off :). I like the timer idea too.

Kamille @ Redeeming the Table said...

it's so true about the internal crying for the parent. Isn't it interesting how we apply different methods for our kids. My girls are fairly good at eating what's put before them, but this week for dinner, V was a bit less abiding. So beef stew for breakfast before I would make the coveted eggs with yolks. She ate it all (lucky for me).
Good for you in covering the rainbow with food for your boys:)