You know that saying, “Shoot for the Moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”?
Well, this week I shot for the moon. And you know where I landed? Among the stars. Specifically these stars.
My goal this week was to interest my kids in chicken in ANY form other than the nugget.
Let me back up and say that my original parenting plan included kids that would eat anything they were given, anywhere, at any time. My kids were never going to order off of the children’s menu. They were also going to listen 100% of the time and be reading independently by 2.
Then reality set in. For starters, I began to notice that most food, children’s menu or otherwise, went untouched. And I wasn’t about to pay $12 for a blue cheese burger off the adult menu instead of $5 for a plain burger off the kids menu, when 3/4 of either one was going to end up in a doggy bag for Pippa.
Second, we bought a fixer upper and did most of the fixing up ourselves. We had six weeks between closing and move-in, and about 8 weeks worth of projects to cram into it. Therefore I spent almost all my time driving the kids between the two houses — to the new house in the morning and home to the old house for afternoon naps. Then, immediately upon moving in, we fell into a schedule that also included drives that cut it way too close to nap time.
Some might think that Shark Diving or Skydiving or cliff jumping in those ridiculous flying squirrel suits is the riskiest thing you can do, but they’d be wrong. The riskiest risk of all risks is to take a thirty minute drive with two toddlers at 11:54 am. You’ll never find a higher high than succeeding in keeping them awake for this, because it is so very rare that you do.
The solution? Car lunch.
Man, do we rock the car lunch. And the car dinner. And sometimes the car breakfast.
I have tried my best to be committed to these car meals being as healthy and nutritionally diverse as a home meal would be. Unfortunately this has resulted in my carseats looking like this:
That’s a years worth of peanut butter, yogurt, cheese grease, fruit juices and broccoli crowns mashed into that thing. It smells exactly like you’d imagine. I didn’t think it was that bad until my sister all but gagged when she saw it. When a fellow mom of preschoolers thinks it’s bad, it’s bad.
But the alternative has landed me in my current predicament. The easiness and non-peanut butter-smeariness of chicken nuggets has proved so tempting to me as we race from activity to activity that my kids have turned into monsters. Monsters that won’t eat anything that isn’t a white carb with cheese and/or breaded and fried.
So this week I put my foot down. It was high time to re-introduce chicken in other forms, darn it.
Monday’s attempt was a roasted chicken submarine sandwich for lunch. YUM, right?!
Alex disagreed. First the cheese was removed from the offensive sandwich, and then consumed alone while everything else on the plate remained untouched.
Next it was maple chicken sausage with breakfast. YUM, right?!
“What in tarnation did you just put in front of me, Woman? Let me put this dog food back where it belongs before it touches my shredded cheese.”
Evelyn’s my more adventurous eater, probably because at 9 months I was feeding her pureed lamb curry at our dining room table while at 9 months I was feeding Alex a GoGo Apple squeeze and french fries in his carseat. But even she was above the chicken sausage, trying a bite and then immediately spitting it back into her hands as if there was a starving baby bird in them. I decided to spare you the picture of that. You’re welcome.
Clearly something else had to happen. I could have waited, persevered, but I’m bad at that. Instead I came up with a different plan.
The intensity with which my kids protest when I try and take 30 seconds to do something like pee alone has led me to assume that they love me more anything. Except for maybe Ranch, which they’d lick off the floor if I let them. I’m 130% sure they would trade me for a lifetime supply of it without even blinking.
So today I marinated two tiny chicken breasts in an entire bottle of Hidden Valley in an attempt channel their Ranch obsession directly into chicken.
Now if I could just channel their obsession with Mommy into chicken …
This is Sweet Baby Ray’s go-to Halloween costume every year. He throws some blue painter’s tape on top of it and an extension cord on top of that, and voila. Chicken “cord-on-blue.” If I hadn’t already been in love with him when I first laid eyes on it, that definitely would have done the trick.
Today I was hoping it would have the same affect on my kids, while also somehow sidestepping the whole “but if we love chickens then why do we eat chickens” question.
Evelyn was completely unaffected, in that she stumbled out of her room after nap and casually asked if it was Halloween today.
Alex on the other hand was thrilled, and kept yelling “Mommy’s a duck!” when I walked in to get him. We’ll have to work on his barnyard poultry identification.
But, he DEVOURED his Ranch bottle chicken, so something worked. (Though can I really call that a win?)
It’s a step in the right direction, anyway. We’re still heading for the moon and we’re on our way to leaving the star (nuggets) behind.