My wife and children have all abandoned me.
Actually that's somewhat misleading. This isn't going to turn into a blog about being a lone single man battling alcoholism as he tries to understand why his ex-wife left him, and his kids don't like him now the in-laws don't have to pretend he's tolerable any more and are poisoning their minds. Actually what happened is they all went up to the in-laws for the night. Being retired and propped up by a revoltingly lavish state pension and a grotesquely inclusive health insurance policy (whilst amusingly barking angry comments about handouts, socialist healthcare and government spending) they leave the Adirondacks for a few months and take an Airstream around the southern warm US during the late Winter/Early Spring. Meaning they want to spend a few weekends with their grand kids playing in the snow. So I'm home alone after being granted a stay-of-execution. Or more accurately my wife said, "you seem very angry - you should stay home for the night." Obviously I spent the evening hunting, tinkering with an automobile, firing a gun, eating Man-wich, watching the NFL, drinking at a bar and then wanking to online pornography. All the manly things good American bachelors do. Actually no I didn't - I had a bath, watched Wipeout, ate some apple crisp and accidentally fell asleep in my computer chair looking up a recipe for gluten-free Scotch Eggs at around 9.15pm.
These past two weeks my daughter hasn't eaten a single dinner. Not one. I'm not a short order cook - I make one meal for us all to eat that is healthy most of the time. Anyway - she poked food for a week, cried when I clearly got irritated and even gagged to the point of puking when being told to eat the damn pepper on her plate. It's obviously my fault. I may make a decent dinner 80% of the time but I also assume that because she's eaten some healthy stuff during the day that it's also okay to give her stuff she really likes as well - because she's always hungry and thirsty. So potato chips, crackers, popcorn and whatnot. She gets juice in the morning, two milks (usually one flavored as a treat) and water for the rest of the day. The culmination for me was Thursday night when I made exactly what she asked for - french fries, chicken nuggets, carrots with ranch and apple slices (so sides like they have at restaurants for kids). I don't want to eat that - it's an awful meal. She ate two of the apple slices and then welled up about how dinner was disgusting and we might get mad at her for - again - not eating it. Mad isn't the right word. It's frustrated. She likes everything we make. 50% of the time she will eventually actually try whatever it is she refused to for twenty minutes and then will eat it all.
Anyway she didn't eat Friday either. Friday was so bad that she thought we were trying to trick her into doing something inhuman. I made a stir-fry thing. It had bamboo slices in it. My daughter ended up screaming through tears, "I'm not a panda bear!!" when my wife tried to get her to eat it. Which led to me doing what a parent isn't supposed to do - which was effectively ask the inane question as to whether my daughter didn't like us for some reason. Which my daughter thinks is possibly the worst accusation you can make. She also doesn't understand concepts too - so when I say if she doesn't eat her dinner then she isn't getting dessert (which is made and smelling nice on the stove) she interprets that as never ever ever being allowed dessert again. And not just in the future - but also in the past - meaning she broke the rules and is in trouble for already eating dessert before today. Anyway - I'm trying to figure this out without getting as irritated.
So some of yesterday I trawled the online parenting forums/blogs and whatnot looking for advice, suggestions and at least affirmation that putting a decent meal out is worthwhile. Most of the things are like this one called 15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better. Which made me feel better at least. My kids eat a good balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables over a whole week. They understand what is healthy and what isn't. My daughter just won't eat dinner. Mostly what I got out of reading this stuff yesterday was -:
1) To get my daughter to help buy stuff to eat. Then it's her food.
2) To, at the very least, have her see what I'm making for dinner. Nothing is more frustrating than her expression when she sees whatever-the-hell-that-is glistening on her plate and instantly deciding she won't eat this mystery food.
3) Have her help me cook more. She makes cookies, desserts and fun stuff with her mother. She doesn't do a thing with me. I'll ask her to help do simple things.
4) Once dinner is made - leave it up to the kids to eat. My son is good - he still eats everything. But just stick the food in front of my daughter and let her get on with it without criticism or comment. Because if I sat down with adults and they were scowling, snippy and demanding that I eat stuff or I'm not allowed something I wouldn't want to be there either. Which isn't going to be easy. If I do 1 through 3 she'll know what everything is. She won't starve after eating well all day. So I'll try that.
5) Put a toothpick in it. You can stick a toothpick in pig kidney's and a kid will try it.
Obviously whilst reading all this last night I skipped dinner. Instead I finished off a bag of potato chips, ate a quarter bag of chocolate chips, ate apple crisp (all my foods had to contain the letters c, i and p apparently) out of the pan I cooked it in - with blob of ice-cream - and drank hot chocolate. I'm allowed to. I completely shirked my annual responsibility to put on Winter Weight and trimmed up to my old running weight instead. So a splurge for an evening (okay - a few evenings) is okay.
Today I have to buy the weekly groceries with one eye on the fact that I I want my daughter to help out with dinners. I'm also supposed to avoid the aisles with those foods that have the letters c, i and p in them. That's easy enough I guess. All I need to do is plan a few meals. Sadly after last night ALL I can think about are savory snacks from back home. Sausage rolls and Scotch Eggs mostly. Mostly I'm leaning toward Scotch Eggs. I can't even eat them now I don't eat gluten (a deep fried boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and covered in breadcrumbs - if you didn't know). And I would do it if they magically appeared in my house. I'd eat a whole pile of them and be sick for days, I mean just look at this thing.
I would hurt you to get to that egg.
Crap - now there's no way I can come up with meals. I will easily convince myself that sausages are a good meal for three days, a sausage roll is good for one and Scotch Eggs are good for the other three. For example - I stopped writing this, looked up food ideas and actually thought this was a good conclusive meal after reading about what to make fussy eaters - :
I might be in trouble here.