“Give me a number,” asked Natalie. “What?” said Jamie. “A number. I need a number. Two. Four. Seven,” she explained. “How many bites do I have to take?”
She’s 3 1/2 and has already mastered the art of negotiation.
Now I’ve seen some picky kids, and thankfully Natalie isn’t quite that bad. If she had her way, she’d eat shrimp from sunrise to sunset. I consider this pretty good since most kids won’t touch seafood. And she still loves peas and if I roast carrots long enough, she thinks they are fries and always asks for thirds.
So she’s not terrible per se. Our challenge is getting her to try things first before declaring she’s not touching it. So we made the 3 bite rule: you don’t have to like every food you try, but you’ll never know what you think unless you try it. And after 3 bites, if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it. But at least you tried. I’d say 50% of the time she likes it.
The other trick that has worked beautifully for us is having her cook with me. We try to cook dinner five nights a week, and mostly she’s my little sous chef. She has her own collection of aprons and even has a stool preference.
Most of what she does is simple: mix, toss, fetch and roll. But her absolute favorite? Making asparagus! She loves snapping them in two, then she adds olive oil and sprinkles cheese. And the best part? She can’t wait to eat what she makes!
It also helps that she always goes shopping with us. At Heinen’s she loves putting things in the bag. We talk about what color each item is and what we’ll make with it. She of course also knows to make a bee line to the bakery for a cookie! At the farmers’ market, she can be found talking to all the farmers and vendors. What did you grow today? Can I try it?
And finally, when we eat out, she almost always talks to the chefs and thinks it is so cool that they are making something special just for her. She’s especially fond of chef Matthew Anderson at Umami – her personal favorite. She loves the goat cheese dumplings and always asks for the greens on the side. Unfortunately, the greens fell victim to the 50% that didn’t make the cut (but fortunately for mom!).
Olivia, our 11 mo old, is basically eating everything now, though she’s partial to blueberries and peas.
When she’s ready, there’s an apron and stool waiting for her.
SPEAKING OF KIDS COOKING
Check out Noodlebear Cook, July 8th at 2 p.m. at Noodlecat
WHAT: A cooking class for kids with the Care Bears and the Sawyer Family! Check out the special Care Bears cooking class, costume characters, and even a brand
new Care Bears TV episode to watch. And in the spirit of caring, they will be collecting canned goods for the whole month of July and $5 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. Tickets are $28 dollars // Available here. Cost includes meet & greet, cooking class, lunch for 1 child and admittance for 2 adults.