Monday, July 28, 2008
Let me start by saying I have never, ever, ordered anything on the side. When I’m at a restaurant, I read what’s listed, make a decisive order, and am generally pleased with how things turn out. I trust a chef to have put together adequate combinations. I am in no way a demanding or picky eater.
So, you can imagine how baffling it seems to me that I cater so much my kids’ picky eating. Yes, I know there are those of you out there who have sushi-eating kids, but I don’t want to hear about it. My kids subsist on air and cheese. My husband and I actually cheered last week when our son ate marinara sauce on his pasta for the first time. This, after almost a decade of noodles with parmesan and butter.
I am not going to bore you with all the details of my kids’ eating, or lack thereof, but I will admit I go to lengths to accommodate the pickiness that my parents would never have stood for. I was at my favorite frozen custard/ sub shop the other day and I found myself paying almost $6 for one sub roll covered with cream cheese for my kids to share.
This stemmed from a tradition that started when they were toddlers. The understanding assistant manager would see us coming, start to slather up a roll for them, and charge me about $1.25. This allowed me to eat my turkey and avocado sub in peace and feel less mortified when I turned around 10 minutes later and ordered them frozen custard as a treat. Anyway, last week I took the kids in for the first time in a very long time. The familiar face behind the counter was gone, and when I requested my unusual “usual,” his replacement looked at me like I had 3 heads. Others were consulted. A crowd gathered. In shame, I plunked down large sums of money. I wondered why I was going to such lengths for these two, when other kids around us were happily chowing down on fries and chicken fingers. A request that seemed cute and semi-reasonable at ages 1 and 3 seemed much less so at 7 and 9. Aargh.
It kind of reminded me of Filet-O-Fish. You see, my dear mom knew I hated ketchup (still do!), but she also knew that as a mom with 3 kids in less than 4 years, she had a lot on her plate. She had an agenda to get us where we needed to go. There were a lot of fast food meals, but absolutely no whining and no substitutions. I was well informed that Burger King’s Slogan “Have it YOUR way, Have it your WAY” meant nothing at McDonalds. My mom simply would not let me order a burger without the ketchup and those tiny little onion chunks. No way. Not an option.
So, for 15 years I ordered the Filet-O-Fish and I didn’t whine about it. I am not sure what she figured would happen had we waited a few extra minutes for a ketchup-less burger, but we never found out. I still do not know.
Now, I’ll probably cheer the first time one of my kids eats a fast food burger. With or without ketchup. With or without a bun. Who knows when that time will come?
I am tired of beating myself up about the way they eat. I think I just need to be patient. I know from patience. When I was 16 McDonalds finally came out with Chicken McNuggets.