Thursday, April 28, 2011

Clover for Dinner

"What if I told you that I would make a salad for you for dinner out of clover!"

Thing 1's head turned toward me, interested.

"Like clover in the park?"

"Yeah, just like clover in the park except this clover is grown on a farm and is washed. It isn't icky at all. Would you like to try some? And if you like it, you can eat more. But if you don't like it, I promise, just one bite."

"Yeah! Clover for dinner clover for dinner!"

I have tried it all: bribery, time outs, limiting snacks. Nothing has really worked to get my kids to eat. Thing 1 just one day woke up more rational about food. If he is hungry and my food is decently seasoned and well cooked, he'll eat it. Since he is more rational he can ask for foods that he is interested in and he will eat them. Your child may have always been able to do that. Thing 1 would often say he wanted to eat one thing and half way through preparation he would change his mind. And sometimes even if he continued to say that he wanted a certain thing for dinner he might never even take one bite. Now at least things have gotten clearer for us.

It is easy as an adult to forget that our children's perspective is unbearably narrow. Even if we strive to show them the world, they know and understand only what you have shown them. My children for example don't know that most people don't shop at farmer's markets. And when I tell him that I am going to serve him hydroponic microgreens, he doesn't know what that is. Jesus, imagine you didn't know what that was and someone tried to sell it to you? But he does go to the park everyday and he does know what clover looks like.

I can stage an energentic lecture everytime an advertisement for Fruity Pebbles comes on. But do I even need to? Every night when I come home I make a hot from scratch dinner. They see that. This will be their food culture. They will grow up eating local foods. They will feel comfortable buying their meat out of a cooler on a temporarily converted street. I am giving them this world view by just playing out my beliefs every day.

And yes he did like the clover. He said it was a little spicy(from the arugula) but he had two helpings. And he has asked for more since.

Being there for my kids isn't a challenge for me. Loving them is easy. But thinking like them is really hard for me. I am all schedules and to-do lists and spreadsheets. I guess sometimes you have to stop and eat the clover.


  1. Haha, thanks for sharing.. I have to do the same things with my kids. I found that if I call smoked salmon/steak/lamb just "meat" my four year old will eat it but not if I call it by name. I also got him to eat arugula by calling it rabbit food. My one year old on the other hand will only eat smoked salmon, fruit, cheese and yogurt. I figure there could be worse things. Getting kids to eat variety is tough.

  2. I just bought a "Today I Ate a Rainbow" kit on Amazon ( I'm hoping it helps everyone in our house! I'll let you know how it goes!