The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Tuesday, 13 February 2007]

The tortellini incident

Getting your child to eat can be unbelievably frustrating.

Or, how to develop an ulcer in three days.

Like a lot of children, Andrea is very picky about her food. As I firmly believe that we, as humans, should savor our omnivore status, and also since I would like my daughter to not perish from a nutrition-deficiency-caused illness, I want her to at least, for the love of all that is holy and right, try the food. Just try it.

Things came to a head a little while ago. As I do the cooking on weekdays, and am torn between getting something on the table quickly after a hard day at work, and of providing a decent variety of foods on the table, it seemed like frozen Costco foods would make an excellent addition to the arsenal. Picked up a couple of different varieties.

Including tortellini. Awesome. Just heat it up in a wok, and tasty, tasty chicken tortellini would fill our stomachs.

At least that was my happy fantasy while walking the aisles at Costco explaining that, No, you can’t get a new Barbie today. Or a new doll house. Or a new princess dress.

We got home and I heated the tortellini. It was yummy. But the princess wanted absolutely none of it. None. I explained that it was chicken and pasta, just like the chicken nuggets and spaghetti she sometimes deigns to eat. No go.

Would not even touch it. No way. Tears.

So I told her that this was what we were having for dinner, and if she didn’t want to eat it, she would go to bed hungry.

No way. Tears.

So I backtracked. If she would only try it I would get her something else to eat.

No way. Tears.

Well, honey, in that case you’re going to have to go to bed hungry.

OK. Anything to not have to eat the tortellini.

But we’ll have tortellini again tomorrow. And tortellini every day after that until you actually try it.

Fine.

So she went to bed hungry.

Next day, back to Costco for two more batches of tortellini. Heated a bag. No dice.

So she went to bed hungry. It’s like cooking for Gandhi.

The third day, daddy was a bit tired of tortellini. But she has to know that I mean what I say, so tortellini it was. Again.

Noper. Negatory. Not going to even taste one miserable bite.

At this point I’d had enough of tortellini, and enough of having dinner time be a battle field. So the big guns were brought out: if she didn’t try just one miserable, tiny bit of tortellini, there would be no more TV privileges ever, there would be no more candy on Saturdays ever, and there is no Santa.

OK, I didn’t say that last part.

Finally, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she relented and ate one tiny piece of tortellini.

It didn’t taste all that bad.

But we will not have tortellini again until she’s away to college.

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