OK, not a food fight in the “Animal House” sense of the term. Given that Wednesday was cleaning day and we spent a while tidying the kitchen, an actual food fight would have been especially frustrating.
What I’m talking about here is something probably lots of parents out there can relate to: the fierce standoffs that occur when trying to get your child to eat anything with any kind of nutritional value.
In our house, we definitely do the hiding healthy stuff thing. Turkey burgers are an excellent delivery mechanism for finely chopped carrots, kale and spinach. Erin and I also have been trying to put tiny bits of spinach into the kids’ quesadillas.
However, Amelia has a palate more sensitive than the most highly trained sommelier, and can detect even the slightest of variations. Once we bought a different kind of shredded cheese and that set off all number of alarm bells.
Knowing that she can’t be fooled, we’ve been forced to resort to honesty. So on Wednesday, Amelia asked for a quesadilla without spinach. I explained that it’s very important to eat good food so we stay healthy and strong, to which Amelia posed the counter-argument, “But I want a quesadilla without spinach.”
I found myself entering into a fierce negotiation with my 6-year-old daughter, the likes of which I never experienced during my four years in sales. I proposed what I thought was an equitable compromise, where I put all the super-finely chopped spinach into a small area so she can just have it done in a couple bites and enjoy the rest of the quesadilla, nutrient free.
Reasonable though this may have sounded to me, it was beyond the pale for Amelia. At one point I even got her to admit that she in fact cannot taste the spinach in these quesadillas, but that did not sway her opinion.
This standoff continued for at least 20 minutes, at continuing escalation of volume, until she finally agreed to my proposal. Breathing a sigh of relief, I made the quesadilla. Once plated, the standoff resumed for probably another 10 minutes. With much flourish and drama, shouting “FINE!”, Amelia took a bite. “Hey Dad! I can’t even taste it!”
Yeah, I know.
Another lunchtime, conquered. Now it would be comforting to think that the “I can’t even taste it” admission would carry forward and that would be the last of this particular standoff, but parenting is in many ways like “Groundhog Day” where we are cursed to replay the same scenario over and over again. Maybe tomorrow I’ll use “I’ve Got You, Babe” as background music.
The afternoon gave us time to wrap up some cleaning, and also experience sports and the arts. Erin got the kids set up online with the awesome Mo Willems Lunch Doodle series, which they loved, and they created some fabulous new artwork for the house.
There was lots of fun with drawing, which morphed into the usual chasing around the house. I saw Henry come around the corner with what looked like a huge gash of blood on his cheek. “What the…?!?” I shouted. It was marker. Whew. Note to Crayola: Please reconsider having blood red in your color offering.
From there the activities moved to the backyard, where Amelia and Henry invented a new game which involved getting a baseball bat stuck in the fence and then trying to get it out. It looked awfully fun, and when this whole virus thing passes, we may explore setting up league play for FenceBat.
Another day on the books! I’m thinking we need to establish some kind of online gallery for all the art being created by kids during this time. I encourage anyone reading this to share. They say Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine. Great expression comes from times of challenge, so I will close with a nugget from that classic:
“The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”