If you know me at all, you'll know that dinnertime at my house is fraught with emotion and severely lacking in dinner being consumed by children. For some reason, the kids tend to not like what I cook for dinner and aren't ashamed to let me know. Brad, thank heavens, has grown out of it for the most part. He can still be picky, but won't refuse to eat something on the basis of it not being fish sticks or macaroni and cheese from a box. He even attempted to eat a slice of tomato, which is one food that he hasn't eaten in years.
Noah, on the other hand, is still going strong in the "I'm not going to eat this!" vein, and he is leading Zack merrily down the path of destruction with him. I had to learn to disengage my emotions from the dinner situation, telling myself that their rejection was not a reflection of my parenting or worth as a human being. Sounds melodramatic, but to be honest, if you had a job where your boss told you every single day of your life that your work was atrocious, it'd be tough to show up to work every day.
Point being, I had to pretty much stop caring if or when or what they ate. Any junk food in the house comes with restrictions (one popsicle a day) but other than that, I've backed off the food monitoring. At dinner, the rule is you have to eat one bite of dinner, and then you can make yourself something different, but I'm not making it for you and you have to clean up your mess after. Noah makes his own dinner at least once a week, but chances are he'll survive that extra pb&j just fine.
So that is why tonight's dinner surprised me so much. I made a family favorite, 7-layer dip, which is basically taco ingredients served in appetizer format, to be scooped with tortilla chips. Any dinner that involves chips as a main staple is a winner usually, as is anything that seems like non-dinner food. If it can be served in bite-sizes with toothpicks, it's even better. I expected the kids to like what I made, but I wasn't expecting this question from Noah:
"Mom, what happens if I eat all of this, and I still want more?"
I replied, "Well, Noah, that's called 'seconds' and it means you can have more if you want it."
Seconds. I had to explain the concept of getting seconds at a meal. Because it seems as though Noah hasn't ever finished his own meal and wanted more, or seen anyone else at the table do it either. I don't know how that's possible, seeing as though Ryan and I eat seconds on a regular basis, what with all the rejected food just sitting there. But it might have been the first time that Noah wanted to eat so much dinner that it just wasn't possible for it all to fit in a bowl at once. As it turned out, one bowl was plenty and he didn't get to try out seconds, but at least he has it as an option.
It just goes to show, don't give up on your kids. Miracles do happen. One day I might even be able to declare my kitchen a fish-stick-free-zone, but for now I'm happy to know that 'seconds' is a possibility.