Early in 2010, my children, Cole and Reed were picky eaters. I often warned them if they couldn’t eat at least a certain portion of their dinner they would be required to eat split pea soup instead.
I made constant efforts to make dinner appealing to my children, creating fun pictures like happy faces, hearts, balloons, etc. with finger-foods like grapes, bites of chicken, pretzel sticks, very thin sweet carrots that they could easily eat, or some kind of warm dish with fun-shaped noodles and easy-to-figure out yummy but healthy foods to accompany them. None-the-less, dinners were tortuous for everyone.
I hoped they would take me seriously about the split-pea-soup, which I happen to like myself. I believe in being forthright with my kids and I did intend to follow through with my threat if necessary. So, one day while shopping with Cole, then age 4, I took a box of split-pea-soup out of the freezer and placed it in my cart.
Cole asked, “What’s that?”
I proceeded to tell him it was indeed split-pea-soup. I didn’t tell him though, that I was in the mood for it and actually it was for me. I figured I’d let him talk with Reed and maybe they would feel a little more motivated to eat like gentlemen at the table. If not, I could certainly share with them.
Cole was repulsed!
He started crying and wailed, “NO! NO! NO! You CAN’T buy that!!!”
I leveled with him, “Cole, actually, I like split-pea-soup. I’m buying it for me. It would be prudent for you to taste it especially if you don’t eat your regular dinner. You know, you might actually like it.”
His crying, however, did not cease: “I don’t want YOU to eat it either! I don’t want to even smell it.”
Surprised, I asked him, “Cole, how would you even know what it smells like?”
He responded adamantly, “I know what PEE smells like!”
Realizing the misunderstanding and the fact that I rarely mentioned the word “vegetable” in the house much less specific ones, I began to educate the boys on the names of vegetables and why they are good for our bodies. Cole was more than relieved.
I never threatened feeding them split-pea soup again.