Now, cue the gasps from all the rockstar mommies who avoid processed foods like the plague. Who buy all organic and puree your own baby food. Who prepare wholesome, full-blown meals for your kids three times a day. I salute you. Truly, I do. But regrettably I am not one of you.
I am the kid who subsisted off bologna sandwiches, hotdogs, and Spaghettios growing up. I am the former teacher who feasted on school food each and every ravioli day with gusto, especially when I was pregnant. I am the mom of three of the pickiest, most impossible-to-please eaters God ever felt gracious enough to give a parent. There is still hope for my daughter. However, my older kids started out eating broccoli and cheese for dinner but eventually morphed into stubborn creatures who would rather starve than eat a vegetable. So I know it's coming, and I know I'll fight it with much less enthusiasm than I did the first three times around.
When your kid refuses to eat much of anything other than cereal, hot dog buns (not the hotdog itself--only the bun), and craisins, you learn to celebrate small victories. The first time I ever got Hudson to eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich, I thought I might cry from the sheer joy of my accomplishment. When he declared that plain peanut butter sandwiches were his favorite, I fed them to him every day and thanked the Lord he actually ingested protein. Of course, five short months later he won't touch peanut butter sandwiches, and I'm left right back where I started--with a very limited selection of foods my kid will eat period, much less healthy foods my kid will eat.
As much as I want to be that woman who has unlimited money to buy all organic fruits and veggies or that supermom who has the stellar time management skills to pull off any and all of Jessica Seinfeld's creative recipes, I'm just not. I'm a time-deprived mom of four with a grocery budget so tight it could snap at any given moment. I'm trying to give myself a pass on not being the perfect mom when it comes to nutrition. I do buy nitrate free hotdogs and tons of fruit, which my kids eat a wide variety of. Their grilled cheese sandwiches are packed with low-fat cheese and served on whole wheat bread. I do what I can, and I continue to encourage them
I remember that when I went to UGA all those years ago, I ate Rice Crispies or pizza at every meal (sorry you wasted all your money on that meal ticket, Dad). The only veggie I ate was green beans, and rice and potatoes literally made me gag (which my mom found out the hard way years before when she forced me to try them). Today I will eat almost any vegetable with the exception of brussel sprouts and turnip greens. So, I know there is hope, and I'll continue to model good habits for them even if their reaction is to choke back a gag of their own. In the meantime I will relish those opportunities to sneak a bite of Chef Boyardee and relive my glory days. Long live processed foods! Otherwise my kids might starve.