Contributed by: Stephanie Olsen
I consider myself a moderately honest person, at times forthright and even true. However, I admit to having conquered new lows in my quest to feed the kids nutritionally-balanced meals and wanted to share the lies and subterfuges with all and sundry, not only so that your children might heretofore consume dark leafy greens but also that I might spread the guilt.
The new rule in my house was met with jeers, catcalls and thrown objects, but when I pulled myself together and announced to my daughters that they were to dine, henceforth and forever more, only at the kitchen table and never, under any circumstances, in front of the TV, they just expressed mild relief that I would still feed them.
Being a fair-minded autocrat, I explained the reason behind the novel law: that we must be aware of what we put into our mouths, and that we should eat only when responding to hunger and not as a thought- less automatic action. I knew my first grader had caught on when she piped up: "Oh, like when you read books at the table, mom?".
In an attempt to set an example (we all know that they follow our actions, not our words, the boneheads), I now only nosh and read in the front closet where, although bag rustlings, page flipping and chip crunching are apparently (from all rude comments overheard) somewhat intrusive, I am out of sight. And it can be quite a struggle in there, let me tell you - trying to balance the flashlight, the licorice and the People magazine is one thing, but getting at the Diet Coke in my jacket pocket without spilling! However, I try not to complain too much - it's just one of those things a mother has to do.
When another brainstorm hit, I was nearly floored by myself in full admiration and will accept any and all nominations for Mother of the Year or Saint. When the girls were watching one of their educational videos (it was either about dolphins or Scooby-Doo, I can't quite recall), I brought in a bowl of cooled broccoli, which I had earlier steamed, decorated with sweet mandarin slices. I may have been in the throes of my cuisine artistry course or perhaps it was simply some kind of fit, but the food looked pretty and the girls loved their snack in front of the TV. And the statute in my house has been amended accordingly: you may eat as much as you want while watching the tube, as long as it's vegetable or fruit, steamed or in its natural state.
As a final bid for sainthood, let me bare my soul and confess to one last prevarication: the Shepherd's Pie I made last week? The one with green potatoes on top? They weren't green potatoes, hon. They were regular old mashed 0otatoes with chopped spinach!
About the Author:
Stephanie Olsen, published writer, homeschooling mother of two and ESL teacher currently residing in Europe, is also owner of the expatriate site, Family Life Abroad http://www.familylifeabroad.com where you'll find humorous and informative articles by experienced expatriates on all aspects of living abroad, with lots of links and travel tips.
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