Family dinner sure was fun tonight.
Lately I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep because thoughts of how few vegetables Hayes is ingesting have my mind reeling. For some reason (his parents don’t eat vegetables regularly, his parents are not consistent when it comes to offering him vegetables, he prefers fruits, his mother can’t seem to figure out ways to make vegetables more appealing to anyone, etc. etc.) our little guy has more of a penchant for strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, apples, grapes, plums, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi and bananas (sometimes), grains, and anything with cheese.
Today I made my mind up early that I would be serving a vegetable at dinner. That was a challenging thing to do seeing as though I could only find canned green beans, black beans, and corn in the pantry. Corn it was…Weak, I know. I put two heaping scoops of corn on Hayes’ plate along with homemade meatballs (yay!), watermelon, and grapes. “I don’t like corn,” was his response to my prompting, “How’s your corn, Hayes?” The watermelon and grapes were virtually gone at that point, and he had already asked for a second helping of meatballs.
A short time later we started reading Hayes’ “I’m full” signs–pulling off the bib, chewing on his straw, booster chair restlessness–and we must have been simultaneously thinking the same thing: dang it, not a single piece of corn has made it into his mouth tonight -and- What clever get-your-kid-to-at-least-take-one-bite strategy are we going to try? Daddy creatively put a piece of corn in front of each of his top teeth and asked if Hayes could make his own “corn smile,” and I placed a single kernel of corn on each tine of his fork to make a “corn tree” and told him he could make his own tree once he had eaten the four I had put on the fork. Nada.
I guess out of desperation and mainly because I never in a million years thought he could or would ever do it, my last attempt at a corn victory was: “Hayes, if you decide to eat every single piece of corn on your plate, then Mommy will make you an ice cream cone.” What?!
At first, Hayes tried to negotiate: “Three, Mommy?” “No, Hayes, you need to eat all of your corn.” (Whiney whine whine). “Hey, bud, it’s OK. There will be another night for an ice cream cone. No big deal.” “This and this, Mommy?” (pointing to watermelon and remaining piece of meatball) “Nope, not those buddy, we’re talking about your corn.”
So, he literally sat in his chair at the table for at least 20 minutes growing more and more determined–we could see–to eat the corn. We cleared the items on the table around him as he sat, and even tried to clear his plate when we thought that he was finished. Oh no, he wouldn’t have any of that,
asked whined for his plate back, and began trying to eat the corn. It was messy, and there was a bit of gagging here and there, but it became apparent that our son had actually made up his mind that he was going to win that ice cream cone. As he got closer and closer to a clean plate (I was actually offering him the spoonfuls of corn at this point so I could ensure that the kernels were going in) he said, “I think Daddy is going to cheer…and maybe clap for me!” Shortly, we were down to two more bites, and it took what seemed like 5 minutes to chew and finally swallow them, but you know what? The kid did it. The corn had been eaten. Yes, we did cheer, we did hoot and holler, and we did clap like maniacs because we were proud that he had stuck with it. And shocked.
Way to go, bud!
Here is our cute little corny victor with ice cream on his upper lip: