Monday, at 5:00, I realized I had neglected to defrost anything for dinner. I do this every Monday. Apparently, two days is long enough for me to forget I have to cook, since Jason makes most of the meals over the weekend. I've never been particularly into cooking. I do like to eat and set a good example for Jack, though, so I cook dinner Monday through Thursday, since Jason doesn't get home until seven. So there I am, standing with the fridge door open on Monday evening, "shopping" as my dad would say, trying to put together something tasty and reasonably nutritious on the fly. Throw into the mix the fact that the list of things Jack won't eat is... well, it's easier to list the things he does eat.
I know, I know, I should just make what I make and he can eat it or not. I do that to some extent, but I feel like I ought to include at least one thing I know he likes. I did all the right things when we started solid foods. I started him on vegetables first, and all that. He's always seemed to have a texture aversion to some foods, though. He never liked rice cereal, and to this day, won't eat things that are basically smooth but have lumps in them (think yogurt with fruit or marinara with chunks in it.) He will not eat pasta or rice, not even in the form of macaroni and cheese - basically unheard of in the kid community. I can count the number of times on one hand he has eaten meat. I've tried everything from hot dogs to salmon - all offensive to the little general's taste buds. When we first started solids, he ate a decent array of vegetables, but he's slowly whittled them down to only V8 and dried green beans. No corn, beans or potatoes either. I used to bend over backward to try to sneak vegetables or meat into other, non-offensive foods, but he usually saw through my ruse, and all my work would be in vain. Eventually, I gave up trying to be clever. Now, I just serve him the steamed or grilled veggies we're eating and figure maybe one day he'll try them. On the bright side, he's also not a huge fan of sweets.
So... back to Monday night. I ended up popping a frozen thin-crust barbecue chicken pizza in the oven. Jack has never even deigned to try pizza, but he got strangely excited when I got out the box. Then, when we sat down to eat, he actually picked up his piece of pizza and ATE THE WHOLE THING! I was even able to pick up a piece of chicken that fell off and pop it into his mouth without protest! I was flabbergasted, but from prior mistakes I knew better than to make a big deal out of it. A surefire way to make sure Jack never does something again is to get really excited about it. So I said, mildly with a smile, "Oh, good. I'm glad you like the pizza." I know pizza isn't the healthiest thing, but it was thin-crust and had some goat cheese on it and chicken instead of pepperoni. Mostly, I was glad he tried something new, because, aside from texture aversion, he is innately suspicious of new foods.
Jason told me later, he had been telling Jack about pizza over the weekend and how good it was, which may account for his excitement and willingness to try it. Hmmm, would this work with broccoli? I wouldn't hold my breath. Maybe we've stumbled on a new way to get Jack to try things, maybe not. He's a strong-willed, often unpredictable little boy, so there's no telling. We can only hope that our efforts result in Jack knowing what good nutrition looks like, even if he doesn't always eat everything we'd like. And though he may return to what we've taught him as he moves into adulthood, I'm pretty sure there's no way to avoid the classic teenage diet of pizza pockets and Dr. Pepper - one I favored at sixteen, whilst at school and away from my parents' house and immediate control. Somehow, I turned out okay, though - another broccoli cookin' mom, whose kids won't eat it. Ah, the circle of life.