A while back I considered ways to get my son to try a few new foods. So I came up with this plan: take ingredients he liked and put them in a matrix that he could put stickers on. Some fun ingredients and some wacky ones. IE, something like this:
|Bread||Graham Crackers||Ritz Crackers||…|
And then we’d try new combinations and put stickers in the squares we liked, and Xs in the squares we didn’t.
“This’ll do it” I thought to myself. Well, stop laughing all you seasoned parents. The result was my adventurous daughter was eager to fill every square. My reserved son (the one I was trying to impress with this whole setup) refused to try any combination he hadn’t tried before.
Don’t get me wrong: kid’s are different. I was wrong in thinking I could influence them. They each have their own personalities. I love the fact that my daughter points at a ridge and says “lets hike there”. I love the fact that my son has shot goals past me in soccer because he’s had me laughing so hard there was no way to defend myself. They each have their own special talents and attributes. I’m the one who has learned to adapt to them, not the other way around.
The recent results
Meanwhile, years later, my Daughter has been begging me to do another “try it” meal. So I gave in again (we’re up to a count of about 4 at this point) and we gave another whack at it tonight. My son, who started complaining immediately, got oatmeal and other random things for dinner since I the rules say you don’t force a kid when it comes to food. My daughter and I embarked on a episode of trials and tribulations. So here are the two winners(?) for the night:
- Best Combination: Graham Crackers and Yogurt. Holy cow batman. This one surprised me. I mean, I knew it would be good. But this is like dessert-quality good, not just “good”. My daughter and I both agree.
- Worst Combination: Pears and Ketchup. Holy cow batman. I knew it’d be bad, but this is really really really really bad. Insert a few infinity-signs before the “bad” in that statement. Oh man. I mean bad. I mean don’t try this at home bad.
Tips for Parents
Try fun but simple adventures some times. You’ll be amazed how profound of an effect you’ll have on your kids, regardless of whether it was the effect you intended or not. Either way, they’ll gain something from the experience.