A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.


The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles tagged with: picky eaters

On Tuesday, he ate …
Tuesday, 19 Jul, 2011 – 14:37 | Comments Off
On Tuesday, he ate …

Looking back, it was a mistake to read Big Guy “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” when he was a baby. Or maybe it’s his kindergarten teacher’s fault.
Whatever the reason, he’s been bent on living out the …

Creating a family of cereal killers
Thursday, 27 Jan, 2011 – 12:14 | One Comment
Creating a family of cereal killers

Confiscate a kid’s candy and chuck his chips and what do you get?
A boy so desperate for sweets that he’ll eat Honey Kix for the sugar buzz. A lad so crazed for crunch that he’ll …

YES, he finally eats. Everything in sight
Wednesday, 25 Aug, 2010 – 14:55 | Comments Off
YES, he finally eats. Everything in sight

I’m not sure if Big Guy was being cunning or air-headed when he came to the Book Fair room where I was volunteering at school earlier this week and said he’s lost his lunchbox. “I …

If you serve it, they will eat. Eventually.
Wednesday, 30 Jun, 2010 – 14:29 | 2 Comments
If you serve it, they will eat. Eventually.

In the past month, Big Guy has proclaimed fish sticks “delicious” and watermelon “yummy.” He’s swooned over apple cobbler and eaten a rainbow-colored salad packed with greens, tomatoes, zucchini and carrots. He wasn’t wild about …

Thank heaven Mrs. M has a great bread pizza recipe
Wednesday, 2 Jun, 2010 – 12:39 | Comments Off
Thank heaven Mrs. M has a great bread pizza recipe

I was there for the preparation but had to leave before the feast began, so I was curious to hear Big Guy’s reaction to the lunch that was part of his end-of-school party.
“Oh. My. God,” …

If you keep at it, you will win. Sort of.
Tuesday, 27 Apr, 2010 – 13:28 | 2 Comments
If you keep at it, you will win. Sort of.

For a week running, Big Guy’s lunch box has come home clean as a whistle.
Salad with “dranch” dressing – devoured.
Fresh fruit – sucked down.
Sub sandwich with lunch meat that’s a tad saltier than I’d prefer …

Milk: It’s what’s for dinner
Friday, 20 Nov, 2009 – 14:34 | Comments Off
Milk: It’s what’s for dinner

I love independence – one of the happiest days of my life was when Big Guy woke up early, climbed on a stool, hoisted the Cheerios from atop the fridge and made himself and his …

Food fight? Nah, I’ll just wait for the surrender
Friday, 23 Oct, 2009 – 13:38 | Comments Off
Food fight? Nah, I’ll just wait for the surrender

There are picky eaters, there are picky eaters who border on neurotic and there are wannabes.
Big Guy’s the neurotic type. Part of it has to do with his food allergies, but mostly it’s …

The magic of the midday buffet
Monday, 5 Oct, 2009 – 15:24 | Comments Off
The magic of the midday buffet

Maybe because he’s never eaten at a buffet in his life – with their high risk of cross-contamination, they’re edible IEDs for the food allergic – Big Guy is fascinated with the concept.
He’s also going …

Where did this eating machine come from?
Friday, 10 Apr, 2009 – 13:43 | Comments Off
Where did this eating machine come from?

Big Guy went to sleep one night – at 8:30 no less – a fussy eater who griped about everything. He woke up next morning and started devouring the house with termite-like ferocity.
Three bowls of …

The macaroni and cheese holy wars
Thursday, 19 Mar, 2009 – 11:41 | 3 Comments
The macaroni and cheese holy wars

I love to cook. I do not love making six meals a day.
I don’t mind at all spending money on quality ingredients for dishes. I hate like heck throwing away food.
For years, the guys have …

Epiblogue: The field trip comes back to school
Friday, 27 Feb, 2009 – 11:37 | 4 Comments
Epiblogue: The field trip comes back to school

For months, Big Guy had asked when his broccoli would come.
His class had planted seedlings during a Halloween visit to a family farm. We visited the plant a few times – the row was marked …

In praise of food conspiracies
Friday, 23 Jan, 2009 – 14:09 | Comments Off
In praise of food conspiracies

Yes, I trick my kids.
I shamelessly spike marinara with spinach and proudly bill whole-wheat banana muffins as cupcakes. Big Guy won’t touch banana or spinach, but he gobbles both in their covert forms.
I also do …

Getting a jump on weighty New Year’s Resolutions
Tuesday, 30 Dec, 2008 – 12:39 | 3 Comments
Getting a jump on weighty New Year’s Resolutions

The weigh-in weighed against Dad yesterday, which is why he came home looking like he’d mistaken the produce man for the Brinks driver and knocked over the wrong truck.
Lettuce … cauiflower … apples … oranges …

Going wild over school lunches
Tuesday, 21 Oct, 2008 – 11:32 | Comments Off
Going wild over school lunches

What’s for lunch today?
Pizza on a whole-wheat crust and fresh grapes. Or maybe mini-quiche and an organic salad.
No, not here, though we did have the pizza (with covert spinach in the sauce) last night and …

9to5to9: So Big Guy wants to write about food
Saturday, 4 Oct, 2008 – 1:04 | Comments Off
9to5to9: So Big Guy wants to write about food

At least he'll still eat pizza
Arggghh, I groaned a few hours ago, my head in my hands.
“What’s the matter, Mommy,” Big Guy asked.
“I need an idea. I don’t have any ideas to write about tonight.”
“I’ll …

9to5to9: This here’s a classy establishment
Sunday, 28 Sep, 2008 – 14:39 | Comments Off
9to5to9: This here’s a classy establishment

Once upon a time, in the land before children, there was a woman who prided herself on being a good hostess. She’d spend days planning menus, hunting recipes, preparing food, crafting desserts.

She’d draw up battle plans more detailed than the D-Day assault, calculating cooking times and sketching table layouts.

Then along came the guys and food became about existence, not entertainment.

Until Big Guy put his little foot down and stopped all that.

Let the child lead us to healthier eating habits
Sunday, 31 Aug, 2008 – 8:34 | Comments Off

We’ve been on vacation for the past week, which means we’ve slipped into some nasty habits.

Bedtime has been more of a wish than a deadline. Morning clean-up has floated well into the afternoon. And regularly scheduled meals have lapsed into the category of “”vague memories.”"

But Little Guy set us straight this morning.

He marched to the “”engirator”" with his “”I’m hungry”" stance.

“”What do you want, babes?”" I asked, expecting to hear juice or ice cream.

“”I want carrots!”" he said.

If it’d been Big Guy, I would have fainted. Coming from Little Guy, though, it’s nothing unusual.

Watch him beg for broccoli! Listen to him ask for asparagus! Hear his appeals for apples!

Picky eater? More like picking his plate clean and begging for more. Good thing someone in this house has some nutritional sense

9to5to9: Who ordered a pizza 35 years ago?
Tuesday, 5 Aug, 2008 – 6:21 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Who ordered a pizza 35 years ago?

There’s a reason no one in my mother’s family ever throws away anything — 35 years down the road, someone might need it.

OK, so that’s not the real reason. The brutal truth: We’re all obsessive-compulsive pack rats who are going to die surround by cats and 1986 editions of Ladies Home Journal, recipes carefully paper clipped so we can make them some day. Or maybe that’s just me.

Today, though, my — and my mother’s — pack-rat OCD came in handy when I was starting dinner and Big Guy remembered the stack of six-inch pizza pans I’d wrested from Mom a couple years ago.

“”Hey, I want to make my own pizza! Where are those little pans?”" he asked.

Ordinarily, a request from

Becoming the Switzerland of the food wars
Monday, 2 Jun, 2008 – 5:20 | Comments Off

As a rule, I never intervene in other people’s parenting traumas, mainly because I hate it when strangers stick their noses in mine. Few things in life are more grating than unsolicited advice when you’re already in the weeds, and even if the intervener means well, it’s hard not to come off as a snot.

But the poor dad at McDonald’s last weekend looked so tortured, so pained that I broke my rule. And I’m glad it did – it helped show me how idiotic I’ve been for years, as I’ve willingly engaged a strong-willed toddler in a picky eater’s food war. It’s a battle, I’ve come to realize, that no one wins.

Tortured dad entered the restaurant playground in the late afternoon with a 3-year-old and a Happy Meal.

The theme this month is pirates, and the kid’s eyes immediately locked on the ship that came with his food.

“Eat your hamburger so you can have your toy,” Dad said, drawing a thin-lipped scowl from his son.

“What about your fries?” he ventured. The kid shook his head and grabbed his soda.

Dad switched tactics and gave up the ship. “Here’s your toy. Now eat.”

When that didn’t work, Dad went back inside and bought an ice cream cone. “See this ice cream! He’s happy to see the nice little boy. And if you eat your food, you can have it!”

Of course that didn’t work either. Dad looked ready to cry, and I wanted to weep right along with him at the memories of playing out similar scenarios all too many times with Big Guy.

A torture chamber where once there was a kitchen
Monday, 2 Jun, 2008 – 2:40 | Comments Off

 I love to cook.

 I have a three-foot-by-three-foot bookcase in my kitchen, filled with everything from the classics – “The Joy of Cooking” and old reliable “Better Homes & Gardens” – to whims. “Southern Living Plain and Fancy Poultry” – what was I thinking?

 The recipes folder on my computer has 80 subfolders with thousands of creative, new ideas. I have stack after stack of cooking magazines, paper clips marking interesting dishes.

 If I were to go out tomorrow and buy every gadget, appliance, pot and bread pan on my dream list, it easily would eat up a pay check.

 Invite a dozen people over for a multi-course meal? Where can I sign up?

 I hate to cook.

 If I have to slop out one more spaghetti or macaroni and cheese

Read a blog, save a buck, trick a kid
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 21:03 | Comments Off

If you add mashed broccoli to macaroni and cheese from the start, your kid will accept that it’s supposed to be green. Until a baby-sitter screws it up for you, that is. Frozen spinach can be chopped finely enough that you can’t tell it from the basil in marinara sauce.

Pumpkin is a vegetable, even if it’s in a muffin or ice cream. It’s an easy switch to sweet-potato oven fries, especially if the fry’s sole role is ketchup delivery.

You’re not really lying if a kid assumes a muffin is a cupcake, simply because it’s in a pretty paper and has sprinkles on top.

A few seconds with an immersion blender and a dash of milk will quickly turn any soup into an acceptable “cream of.”

Take those

Battling pickiness one bite at a time
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:36 | Comments Off

Big Guy couldn’t have looked more horrified if I’d put a heaping pile of dog doo on his dinner plate.

“What’s THAT?” he demanded, pointing accusingly at the inch-long morsel.

“That’s a green bean,” I said. “And that beside it is roast beef. It’s a new rule. You have to try a tiny bite of everything we have for dinner.”

For some reason, it hasn’t occurred to Big Guy to argue with “rules.” He argues with everything else under the sun, but not “rules.’ So he dutifully ate the green bean – one microscopic nibble at a time. It took about 10 minutes, as he tried to stall in hopes I’d cave , but he did it.

I suppose I should be a little gentler on the poor child

Mom wins a skirmish in the dinnertime war
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:00 | Comments Off

I’m not good at sneaky and clever. I prefer to hit things head-on, and when you’re dealing with small people, that usually results in getting your head bashed in. I have a perpetual concussion these days.

I don’t do spontaneous well either, unless I have plenty of time to plan it.

So it always astounds me when I’m able to pull off something with even a smidge of finesse. Tonight, I did sneaky, spontaneous and finesse. Hey, maybe I’m figuring out this Mom gig after all.

Motherhood Muses, please don’t take that as a challenge. I’ve had all the smiting this week I can stand. And besides that, I might well have re-learned something valuable here, a long-forgotten lesson about how twisty, curvy back roads sometimes get you there just as quickly as the freeway.

The sneaky, clever plot began accidentally, as Big Guy kicked off his nightly harangue roughly 2.6 seconds after he buckled his car seat. “Mommy, what are we having for dinner?” The question’s usually a trap.