What is it about kids and vegetables? I understand not liking brussel sprouts, but raw carrots? Who doesn’t like those?
Here’s a portion of a typical dinner conversation at our house.
I remind C that he has to eat his vegetables. "The doctor said you have to have two bites. Remember? Two bites."
C nods "Yup. Two bites. That’s okay. I’m eating my macaroni and cheese now."
The meal continues with variations on this excuse until nothing is left by vegetables – in this case, raw baby carrots. C pushes his plate away "That’s it. I’m done!"
"No, you still have to eat your carrots", I say, pushing his plate back towards him.
"No. That’s okay. I’m happy. I don’t need to eat my carrots." He smiles to prove his happiness.
Yes. Yes, you do.
"Umm… okay. I’m just going to sit here for a while."
"Remember the doctor? She said you have to eat at least two bites. Right?" Really, that was the best thing his doctor ever did for us.
"That’s okay. I’m just hanging out. That’s all. I’m just hanging out." He crosses his arms and looks around like… well, like he’s just hanging out. Where he learned this one, I have no idea.
I start clearing the table. "You have to eat your carrots. Two carrots."
"Umm… How about dessert? Ice cream? Please?"
His little brother perks up at this, "Cream! Cream? Cream!"
I understand his strategy here – trying to get his brother on his side – but it always backfires. I fix two bowls of ice cream. I put one in front of N and the other on the counter where C can see it but not reach it.
"Okay, you can have some ice cream – after you finish your vegetables."
"Two carrots. You have to eat two carrots." It’s in the daddy manual: when all else fails, repeat yourself.
A carrot "accidentally" falls to the floor: "Oh no! It fell on the floor! It’s all dirty now. Oh well. Too bad. Ice cream now?"
This trick got old some time ago. I pick up the carrots, brush them off, and put them back on his plate. "Don’t you want some ice cream?"
This is the cue that means I’m about to throw out his ice cream, and he recognizes it. He takes two "bites" of the carrots – bites that are so small they just scrape some of the skin off the tip of the baby carrot.
"Nope. The whole thing."
With big sigh, he eats the carrots one after the other, chomping them down in seconds. Then he nods wisely. "Two bites, daddy. Two bites."
That’s about ten minutes of arguing for twenty seconds of chewing. I’m not sure I’m winning these battles.