Why does it seem that the time and care devoted to meal prep is directly proportional to the amount of said meal that ends up on the floor? Take this recent dinner as a case study: fresh kale, lovingly sautéed with carrots and organic ground turkey, tossed with homemade marinara sauce, served over organic whole wheat rotini and delicately sprinkled with ground parmesan reggiano. If there was a season of Top Chef expressly devoted to toddler meals, that dish would have carried me right through to the finale. Provided, of course, the judges panel did not also fill up on apple juice prior to deliberation. A lovely little plate indeed. A lovely little plate that hit the floor faster than a fat kid who dropped a Twinkie.
If it comes in stick, tot or nugget form – he’s all in. Anything fresh, homemade or (appalled gasp!) GREEN and you can just forget it. I present him with the plate and wait for that knowing grin that says, “Listen lady, you and I both know how this is going to end.” I know I’m no slouch in the kitchen, so I’ve managed to avoid taking it as a personal attack on my culinary skills. But I’m starting to think no good can come of cooking. Let’s face it, homemade crap is just messier. And messy equals fun! Pasta with red sauce? Splat! Cheesy garlic mashed potatoes? Fling! Whole wheat vegetable quinoa salad? Well that shit may as well be confetti. (Seriously, still finding the remnants of this one whenever I clean the floor. I imagine strippers have similar issues with body glitter.) But still, my fighting spirit won’t let me throw in the dish towel. Even if my meals will always be David to a chicken nugget-y Goliath. At least the dog will always be well-fed, while my kitchen floor gently weeps.
From time to time, I find myself at one of those parenting crossroads that drives me to internet in search of advice. More often than not, you’ll find a wealth of information from every school of parenting imaginable. As a person with no clear cut parenting philosophy, I tend to find this Old Country Buffet of ideas extremely appealing. A little of this, a little of that, hit the make your own sundae bar and BAM you’re done! But occasionally the most innocuous of questions will lead you down the rabbit hole of stupid, through the looking glass of crazy. When my son was just shy of a year old, I set off on such a quest to find a way to curb his incessant biting. Here are just a few of the tasty little nuggets of wisdom the World Wide Web had to offer:
1.) Bite him back. This one was actually the most frequently offered solution. This eye for an eye, bite mark for slobbery bite mark approach was just a bit too biblical for me. Seemed like a gateway to summoning plagues of locusts onto his pack and play. Pass.
2.) Flick his ear. But they’re so cuuuuuuuuute!!!! Physical reprimands just aren’t part of my parenting repertoire. No thank you. Besides, just look at the itty bitty things!
3.) Redirection. This one sounded a bit more reasonable, but logistically it seemed unlikely. “Pardon me, son. I can’t help but notice you latched onto my shoulder like a lamprey. But perhaps I could interest you in a warm scone and the new issue of Architectural Digest?” Just didn’t see it going down like that. Next…
4.) Offer him teriyaki flavored beef jerky. Because hickory smoked will only feed his bloodlust? Are you kidding me with this? Am I raising some sort of wolf man whose incisors must tear flesh asunder? Once I start solving my parenting woes with cured meats the issue at hand becomes much greater. Forget it.
In the end, we went with a firmly administered “No no! No biting!” coupled with impotently enforced time outs. I’m sure we can attribute the end of the biting to the natural sunset of yet another odd baby phase. But I can say for certain it was definitely not the product of retaliatory biting or dried beef products. So in case you’re keeping score, that’s parents – 1 internet – 0.