Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The spaghetti squash disaster.

Fresh off of our four-day juice cleanse, I decided it was time that the kids were introduced to vegetables, aside from our ol' standby, green beans/corn/peas/carrots in a can.  I didn't realize it, but over years worth of time I had conditioned my children to love ONLY soft produce--and when confronted with the snap! of a fresh green bean, they have this tendency to believe I am feeding them poison.


My biggest conundrum here is that my kids are HEALTHY kids.  They are skinny kids.  The chicken fingers we eat don't *appear* to be killing them, and trust me when I tell you, they are not lacking in energy.  They hate soda, so we have that (inadvertently) going for us.  But aside from Little J, who always hovered around the 40th percentile, I haven't had a kid who wasn't on the really small side of the weight scale as a baby--which is where all of this started, because our pediatrician wanted to see them gain some weight, and you just can't do that with  a three-ounce jar of pureed vegetables.  You do that with mac-and-cheese and snack crackers and braunschweiger.


And then you go to the grocery store, and you can stock up on 30 cans of soggy vegetables for six dollars, which is a HELLUVA deal, compared to the $4 price tag on a single bunch of organic kale.  I KNOW you healthy people are having a small aneurysm, but it's true--and I suppose I am looking for the happy medium, that allows my kids to be *healthier*, without it costing the equivalent of our budget for a two-week Disney World vacation.


I believed that I had found that option, in the form of a spaghetti squash, which I slutted up with with ritz crackers and cheese.  A respectable vegetable, a few preservatives, some sodium for good measure--THAT'S my version of balancing the budget, baby.   I REALLY thought I could sell this to the kids, but it might as well have been brussel sprouts grown in the ass of a wart hog, because it DID NOT go well.  Which just goes to prove that this entire healthy living stage of life is a freaking nightmare, and I can't wait until I'm 80--at which point I will no longer be concerned with bathing suit season, and I will have earned the right to eat ONLY ice cream until the day that I die.


I know there are some of you who don't watch videos, but dude.  WATCH THIS VIDEO.  This pretty much sums up what it's like to feed vegetables to young children.  And share the love, because I KNOW we aren't the only parents that have ever had a vegetable...backfire.




25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't you hate it when you push it one bite too far? My son regularly vomits up new foods. Glad to know my kid isn't the only one!

missy said...

Truly my favorite part of this video is the hairbrush sitting right next to John's bowl of food.

Kimmie said...

I have video of my son, at about 10 months old, vomiting up every bite of mashed peas. Pureed green peas.... and then a few days later teething on frozen green peas. All about the texture. He still has a texture thing at 12 years old. I have a strong gag reflex. Maybe John does too? :) Bless ALL your hearts!

spaghetti squash is awesomeness with parmesan cheese on top. Or cheddar. Or ragu type sauce. You can also mix it in with pasta.... hide it I guess. But it does have a texture and needs salt.

Uncle Tiim said...

Loved this video.

carol said...

Thanks!

B liked the request for milk or water...

J we are feelin' ya bud!!

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness, this was classic. This same scene played out at my house when I dared serve fresh greenbeans for the first time. GASP! The horror! The best part was, we had a guest joining us for dinner (hence the fresh produce).

Mel Cable said...

ok, so tears are running down my face. I have to send this to my husband because this is the story practically every night with my middle son, we have a potatoe soup story just like this, not even a vegetable in it. this will help normalize our dinner for him. Last night we took 5 minute shifts sitting with our middle because it is so agonizing!

Ryans said...

We too have this play out anytime Tucker is required to eat ONE bite of any vegetable. He has mastered throwing up only the piece of vegetable, so at least it is efficient. But it makes us crazy because he gets himself totally worked up like this.

Sara said...

We had a similar scene over homemade mac and cheese a few months ago. Mac and cheese!!! Made with Velveeta!!! so not even remotely healthy.

Cary said...

That gag at the 50 second mark made me gag, too. I should offer a camp where kids come to my house for a weekend to see how worse their food could actually get.

Gina Dankel said...

That was awesome video. I'm thinking his future wife should definitely see it.

Anonymous said...

Much as I'm usually in your boat on parenting styles, here we're gonna have to agree to disagree.

I was that kid, the one who vomited when dad forced me to eat vinegar with a side of spinach. To this day I still won't eat spinach.

Now I follow Ellyn Satter's division of responsibility. I'm responsible for the what and when of eating. They're responsible for whether and how much. So if they doesn't want to eat what I'm serving...fine, they don't eat. I don't have to worry about it or fight them. And I just continue to introduce the foods without pressure. All pressure does is encourage them to resist further. As long as I don't make a big deal about it (and importantly as long as they see me genuinely enjoying it) they'll try it eventually. Maybe not today and maybe not after 10 times...but forcing the issue just ensures that they dig their trenches deeper. (Or that they never ever again touch a piece of spinach...or squash).

Nicole said...

I have so much trouble watching this for so many reasons. I am not familiar with your blog or parenting, so I'm not out to rain on your parade and say you're doing something awful, but this video in particular really disturbed me.

Children have developing tastebuds. Heck, even adults do! It's great to want your children to be open to new things, but forcing a food that they have no tried, and disliked to the point of making them gag is going a little overboard. Having suffered through that as a child there are foods I still refuse to touch because of the association. Which is saying some as I'm the girl who wont say no to trying something new, and every once in a while I'll even retry a food that I didn't formerly like because I know my tastebuds change.

My son cou;dn't stand potatoes for a long time. No matter how I prepared them or diguised them. When we had them, he had them as an option on his plater. Generally would take one bite and know what it was and say he didn't like it. Magically one day that taste changed, and he now begs for more potatoes. But they weren't forced on him, they were presented as a valid option and when either his tastebuds matured or he finally decided it was time, he indulged. Children will come to terms in their own time, forcing them into things will only make them push against it harder.

That being said, next time you try spaghetti squash try this (my children scarf this up and have no idea what they're actually eating!) poke some holes in the squash with a fork and stick it in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Pull it out, cut it in half, and scrape the insides with a fork, turning them into spaghetti looking strings. Mix them with a red sauce and place them at the bottom of a glass dish. Stick on top of them chicken breasts that have been wetted in the sauce and them rolled in bread crumbs. Shred mozarella all over the top of the dish. Your children will eat it up, they'll think of it as noodles, and it's cheap as hell!

I hope your future endeavours with crunchy veggies goes better, but remember that it may take time for them to develop a liking for it, and presenting it rather than forcing it is the key to them starting to enjoy it in the long term.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and read it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I always love your videos but this is the one exception. This was painful to watch. I kept waiting, wondering, what some of the previous commenters found to be so hilarious. Watching a child gag while being forced to eat something until he vomits??? In my opinion, this is the best way for you to ensure that a child will hate a food. I was forced to clean my plate which lead to me hating certain foods to this day. I know my parents did what they believed to be the best for me but the memories of these mealtime struggles are ones I would prefer to forget. I have two teenage sons so it's been many, many years but I still remember the feelings of frustration and despair. John tried the squash and he didn't like it. Why not move one and have a pleasant dinner and offer it again in the future? Have you seen the movie Mommy Dearest? This is painfully similar to the liver scene all the way to threatening to serve it again for breakfast if left uneaten. I know you are loving parents and only want what's best for your children but I urge you to consult with your pediatrician about how to handle mealtime struggles. For all of the readers who found this funny to watch, I don't even know what to say.

JenHahn said...

I admire your resolve. And John's! (I hate spaghetti squash, too. It's too squashy-tasting.) A pat on the back for introducing healthy foods to your kids! The only veggies my kids will eat are baby carrots and the tippy top part of broccoli. I totally get the fresh vs. canned budget dilemma. Is frozen a happy medium? I feel like they are healthier than canned and usually cheaper than fresh.

Becky said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister! I agree with you completely. This almost was on the verge of abuse. It made me very sad. I wanted to come and rescue him. You need to choose your battles more wisely next time.

Anonymous said...

I find this so disturbing I can't stop watching it because I desperately want to understand. I can't. I have been a huge fan of yours and laughed at your approach to disciplining as parents, thinking it was exaggerated but funny and appropriate. One example-the toothpaste debacle. I see no humor in any of it anymore as I see such a strong and unrealistic need to control. Yes, kids need discipline and guidance but they also need to be heard and respected. I saw none of that but instead, saw poor John acting defeated and powerless. Was it really worth all of this so he would eat some squash which I'm sure he will hate from this day forward?! You and your husband seemed to be finding humor in it but that made it even worse. Poor little guy, even when he threw up and you started to act like this was maybe all about him "not feeling well," he still was trying to tell you he did NOT like it. Of course by this point it should have been obvious to you he didn't feel well-he was crying, gagging, hugging the toilet! I agree, this borders on abuse. Not only did your husband videotape this chaotic display but you felt it was okay to share with the blog world! I'm confused, stunned and disappointed. Very, very sad!

carol said...

...a snippet of film

I find it fascinating that so much can known and judged by a 3 minute film.

I really think what I saw was potentially a normal day in the life of many a mom. Uncomfortable yet lovingly worked through.

And concerning finding humor in the hard stuff of life...well, it's ok too

Anonymous said...

I try to avoid Target because, wow, one can easily spend $200 on junk. But I always buy fresh vegetables for my family of 5. Sometimes we eat only vegetables for dinner, skipping meat or fish and thereby helping with the budget.

My approach to getting to getting my kids to eat fresh (canned vegetables is quite revolting) green beans, broccoli and asparagus is offer them but not force it. They see Mom and Dad enjoy vegetables and they are curious and most of the time, they like it!!

Also, be sure not to overcook the vegetables. Asparagus prepared in the microwave is not recommended! Try roasted or lightly steamed.

Becky said...

Come on ladies it's not like she tied him up and force fed him. She gave him a choice to eat it now or later. And if your going to slam sara atleast have enough courage robot be anonymous!

Rebecca said...

I agree, Becky! Anonymous? Seriously? Oh well.

BeckShoe said...

Felt bad laughiing at it, but I did. Drew does the same thing with Lasagna. Greg and I are so mean we wait until the end of dinner and tell him we are having it again the next night. ;)

Jen said...

I also found that very hard to watch, because I felt so sorry for him but at the same time two of my kids are underweight... anyone who has a great solution to getting kids to eat hasn't really had a child who has trouble eating enough or putting on weight. I can offer nothing but fruits and veggies for days -- my kid with failure to thrive just won't eat. She doesn't care. My other underweight kid will cry over how hungry she is, and take maybe two small bites of a vegetable, then just go back to crying about being hungry.

Sara, I'm in the same boat with healthy (mostly?) kids who greatly prefer hot dogs/spaghettios/mac 'n' cheese/chicken nuggets. And the two underweight ones are the two who hate fruits and vegetables. And when parents go on Maury to talk about how their kids only eat junk food, people say, "If that was my kid I'd MAKE her eat vegetables!"

So, which is it? Make them eat vegetables, or allow them to make their own food choices?

(I've mostly given up and allow them to make their own food choices. I'm sure that decision could also be hotly debated.)

I tried spaghetti squash once and thought it was repulsive. (So I threw it away and ate a can of frosting for dinner.)

Caitlin said...

I personally, could not even watch this video until the end. I found absolutely NO humor in force-feeding your child to eat something, to the point of vomitting. No, as some one said, you did not tie him up and force it down his throat, but its still wrong on so many different levels. The fact that you and your husband found it absolutely hilarious, made it even more scary for me to watch.

I too, have a child who is underweight. She has always been in the 1st-2nd percentile. There are certain things she does not like. Do I force her to finish eating it? No. If she doesn't like it, I offer a different healthy alternative.

I just am baffled by this, and I am kind of saddened, as I have read your blogs, and always found humor and enjoyment while reading, but this gave me a bad taste, and now I am not sure that I will find the same humor in your future blog entries.

And yes, some people have been judgmental in their posts. But each person that replied had the right to say whatever they felt. If you're putting a video like that on blast for the world to see, you are obviously going to get some negative responses....