Monday, April 20, 2009
Don't tell ME ketchup doesn't count as a vegetable!
Somebody asked me today why the name of my blog is "ChickenNuggetMama." Well, I had a conversation (translation: meltdown) with some other moms when my boys were almost 2 and 3 that led me to give this particular title to my blog. (Yeah, my guys are 12 months, 18 days apart. SIGH. That partly explains the meltdown...) Anyway, from the moment I first became a Mom, I was bombarded with messages about the importance of giving my kids a well-balanced diet, teaching them early to love fruits and vegetables, exposing them to a variety of foods at an early age so they won't be picky, staying away from anything processed, avoiding salt and sugar, blah, blah, blah.....Now, I have two little boys who have been incredibly picky eaters from the time they were born. Anyone who has kids who are "good eaters" absolutely cannot relate to the medieval torture chamber that is the dinner table at meal times with picky children. I dread most meals even now, and it was waaaaaay worse back then. "C'mon, sweetie, just take a little taste...Yes, you can dip it in ketchup...No, don't spit it out...No, sweetie, just chew it up...C'mon, just one little taste...No, don't spit it at your brother...I said don't spit it at your brother....Do NOT feed it to the dog!...It does not taste like poop...Please just take a little bite...It will make you big and strong like Daddy......I know it's the same color as a booger, but it really tastes yummy....You can have a cookie if you eat one bite....." At least now my boys will eat peas, carrots, corn, and a wide variety of fruit. (They will also eat broccoli now, because I told them super heroes love broccoli and that eating it might give them super powers too. If they ask why their super powers haven't shown up yet, I figure I'll just keep telling them that they don't have enough broccoli built up in their bodies to give them actual super powers yet. Eventually, they'll figure out the truth for themselves, but by then I'm hoping they'll love broccoli. I know, I know, I'm a terrible mother!) Back then the only food they would eat was some shade of yellow, brown, or beige...dipped in ketchup. Which brings me right back to chicken nuggets. So there I was in the kitchen, surrounded by some of the other mothers I know, wracked with guilt over my own maternal failures, exhausted from 2 1/2 solid years of sleep deprivation, a little sloshed from the wine we were drinking, and somebody starts talking about how they only feed their children organic food. Now, I was all prepared to give a little chuckle at the chances of that really being true, when one of the other moms piped in with, "Oh yes, me too. In fact, I have always made all of my own baby food from organic fruits and vegetables. You know, it is so important to take charge of your child's nutrition." Wouldn't you think it would end there? But, no. It went on and on with these incredible, unbelievable, "super-moms" talking about making all of their bread from scratch using whole wheat flour, never cooking anything that comes out of a box, and their miracle children who eat asparagus and mushrooms and eggplant (Yes, eggplant. Are you kidding me?!!). I remember distinctly looking around the kitchen at these miraculous women who all seemed so much more capable, calm, and responsible than me, downing my wine in about 3 gulps, and blurting out, "I am a CHICKEN NUGGET MOMMY! My kids live on chicken nuggets, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese from a box , milk, and apple juice. That's all they'll eat. Oh, and hot dogs too. And they dip everything in ketchup. Ketchup is a vegetable in my house!" (I know, tomatoes are technically a fruit. Whatever. That's just never seemed right to me.) Then I dissolved into that maniacal laughter that bursts out when you're really, really, really on the edge of hysteria. There was a pause which seemed to last forever, during which they looked at me -- disheveled, exhausted, buzzed, and clearly verging on the precipice of a major mental breakdown, looked at each other, and then (and this is why I love my female friends so much) somebody said, "Oh, you poor thing. You must have picky eaters." At which point I found myself enveloped in hugs, surrounded by warmth, love, sympathy, and helpful suggestions. More importantly, one of these lovely women immediately refilled my wine glass. Yes, I am a Chicken Nugget Mama.
Posted by Beth