Broccoli moments

That’s what we call them.  And, it must be pretty common because there was a recent Simpsons episode that featured a broccoli moment between Homer and Bart. 

Thank goodness Sydney is not as stubborn as Bart.

Or as over-indulged. 

A broccoli moment is where a parent accidentally backs themselves into a corner that results in a stand-off that the parent must win. 

Ours happened soon after Syd came to live with us.  She didn’t eat green.  She ate chicken nuggets.  And, in the beginning, that was about it.  One place she’d lived fed her pizza almost daily.  Another fed her McDonalds, so she wouldn’t touch either of those.  She was very, very clear on that point.  The only other food she recognized was chicken nuggets. 

But, that’s not how Rob and I eat. 

Side note.  Rob’s Mom is coming to visit next month and she always tells Rob to tell me not to go to any trouble.  This time, Rob told her, it’s no trouble, Mom.  Lane really cooks for us that way every night.  Protein, vege, and a starch.  I guess that’s old-fashioned now, but everybody that knows us knows that we eat good.

Anyway, Sydney got exposed to a whole lot of variety.  I cooked all kind of stuff and I masked the vege in a way that she would eat it.  Until the night I steamed broccoli. 

I told her she had to eat it.  She said no.  That was my chance to find a way to back out of my position.  But, I didn’t take it.  I told her yes.  I told her she couldn’t leave the table until she ate it.  All of it.

She sat there and she cried and she looked at that broccoli and she sat at the table and she watched TV, but she could only get up to go to the bathroom and then she was back at the table. 

I did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen, brushed my teeth and got ready for bed and then came back to the table with a book.

She recognized the sign of her defeat.  She ate that cold broccoli. 

Now, I can apologize for making her eat that cold broccoli.  And, we can joke about it.  It’s common for me to ask her if she wants to make something a broccoli moment.  And, it’s common for one of us to back down before it goes too far. 

Yesterday, we had a broccoli moment in the car.  It’s bound to happen between an adult and a person trying to spread her wings and become an adult, a person who is taking more and more charge of her own life and decisions. 

I get it.  I understand.  But, I pulled to the side of the road and put the car in park and we sat there for a minute before she gave in.  And, last night, when she brought it up, I explained that the only reason we got there was she tried to tell me how things were going to go down and as long as I’m paying the bills, that ain’t necessarily how it’s actually going to go. 

She and I are having a whole lot of playful banter.  I’m loving it.  I don’t know what’s brought on the change, but she’s less sullen and grumpy.  She’s more open and playful. 

And, yes, I do my part to try to foster that playfulness between us.  She has to understand that I have a certain amount of attention I can pay her and that can be good attention or it can be bad attention, and while she’s not completely in control of which one of those plays out, she’s in control of a lot of it.

Parenting…somebody called it the best job you’ll ever hate…or maybe that was the worst job you’ll ever love.  Either way, that kind of fits. 

Oh, and BTW, Sydney now loves Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, soul food, pizza and burgers.  Like Rob, she will eat just about anything I put in front of her, and she’s clear about whether she likes it or not.  All it took was exposing her to it and getting her to try it.  She even willingly eats steamed broccoli now.  She likes it with lemon juice, so I always make sure there’s lemon juice in the steaming water.  Compromise. 

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  It’s halfway through the week. 



Anonymous said...

'Eat your broccoli' translates to other things in life that we don't want to do, too. It's a valuable (and healthy) lesson. We've never catered to our kids whimsies at the table, either. Eat what's there or don't, but that's all that is being cooked tonight. It makes them more willing to try new things and also makes eating out more enjoyable when they don't whine about not liking the food. I really appreciate this blog post today. My 10 y/o DD is having trouble with weekly spelling words and I am so tired of fighting her to study. Your thoughts on the good attention or bad attention are spot on and I will be explaining that to her! Have a great day!!!
Melissa in Texas

Anonymous said...

Oh! I forgot to mention....Have you ever tried baked broccoli? I like it better than steamed as it stays hot longer at the table.
Melissa in Texas

Daphne Bryson said...

Good Afternoon Lane, I loved this afternoon's post because it took me back to when my daughter Danielle was a young girl. She hated vegetables, but I tried to encourage her by putting two sliced carrots, or a couple of pieces of brocolli on her dinner plate, thinking she would be tempted... but no she wasn't. Then suddenly, one day they were gone and I was so pleased, but I did not make an issue of it. Years later she told me, that actually she had never eaten the vegetables, she had pretended to wipe her mouth and put the vegetables in the serviette. Both she and her sister cleared the table, so I never knew. We laugh about it now, because she eats every vegetable under the sun, including raw vegetables.
Have a lovely day.
Best Wishes

lw said...

My parents did the same thing with us with canned peas, which I still hate to this day. I would wait until their attention was focused elsewhere, then raise the fork to my mouth, pull the neck of my tee shirt wide, and drop them down my shirt. After dinner, I would excuse myself, go the bathroom and flush the peas down the toilet.

I do eat broccoli, though I like it stir fried with garlic, tamari and roasted red pepper flakes.

Kath said...

Some good suggestions about ways to cook brocoli. I would not think of baking it (I do roast cauliflower and that is gorgeous!).
I also like the tip about the neck of the tee-shirt I shall remember that :-D
It's funny you should write about this today. We are still eating Protein, vege, and a starch most days and I was thinking how "old fashioned and dull" that was. Seems we are in god company!

Kath said...

oops" that's GOOD company!

Becky said...

Good job, Lane! I love that you call it a "broccoli moment". Sounds like something I would do.
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Please send all the helpful hints you can, this way. We do have the world's pickiest eater. Course anything we do during the day, will be destroyed by night because of her parents. You have made a wonderful parent. So proud of you and Rob. I bet you could fix this problem real quick.

Hazel said...

Thank You Lane for your comment on my blog , you inspired me to try FM quilting ,thank you .

Emily Bowers said...

Lane--this is one of the smartest things you'll ever teach Syd--good eating habits. I get such vindication from reading your blog as it reminds me of moments in my own home.

I can't tell you how many times that I've said, "You can't choose every meal. If that were the case, I'd eat wine (calm nerves) and dark chocolate (so that I stay sweet :). What are you going to do when you're at someones house one day and their gracious enough to provide you a mean? It likely won't be your favorite. But you have two options: Barf at the table because you can't handle what you're being served. Or, sit there and eat it because we both know that you've been taught better manners."

Anyway, I will never forget the moment that Patrick asked Mickey if he would stake the seeds off a strawberry, prior to him trying one for the first time (age 10). I literally almost fell out of my chair. That was Mickey's first wake-up call.

I've learned that bribery goes a long way. Call it, wrong. But I still do it. Those little pieces of candy sure go a long way. Particularly, when I've finished ALL my dinner and I'm eating one right in front of a kid who doesn't want to finish what I've served.

Keep in mind that I'm known to be a very good cook and like you and Rob--we believe in nutrition. I tell the kids that they can have as much candy, junk as they want. BUT THEY WILL EAT WHAT I SERVE AT MEAL TIME.

Patrick eats a ba-zillion things now and Charlotte has always been a good eater. Likely because she realized early on, that I'm a no-nonsense kind of girl. I don't have time for arguing. And, like you, as long as I'm paying the bills--I'm pretty much in charge of this show.

Have a great day. Emily

karrarist said...

I got my kids to eat their broccoli by telling them they were eating magical trees. I manage to eat my own broccoli by drowning it in cheese sauce and baking in the oven... I wish our disagreements today could be solved so simply. My oldest is almost a teen and has started to exercise the attitudes of one- Just when I think I am getting a handle on this parenting thing they come up with a whole new set of tricks and challenges that inevitably leaves me grasping at straws.. I should know by now to savor the moments as a parent where I do not feel inept...