We went out for sushi on Friday at one of those mall-type restaurants that has little pieces of sushi spinning around the perimeter of the kitchen on a conveyer belt. The gimmick is genius for families with young children. The boys were starving and urged that the sushi spot was their choice for our night out. The conveyer belt provides instantaneous food and also fulfills the need for entertainment. As any normal parent knows, that’s a recipe for perfection. More than half of the people in the restaurant (at 5pm) had kids our boys’ age. It was a typical meal until the most wonderful thing happened: my son proved the husband wrong.
Boys 1, Husband 0.
As the food spun around, the boys eyed their favorites: avocado rolls, noodles, and nori. O asked about the orange “bubbles” he kept seeing. F announced that they were fish eggs. O instantly wanted to try them… The husband:
You won’t like those.
Wait, How do you know? Try one!
Since O is obsessed with power struggles, mentioning he won’t like them ups the ante for desire. In the world of reverse psychology, we win. And although we’re not necessarily vying for fish eggs to be a big part of the boys’ diet, we are striving for ongoing fearlessness when it comes to new foods. They really do eat all the same food we do and we want them trying everything offered their way.
The punchline is obvious (see photos). He not only enjoyed the eggs, he licked the plate and asked for more. F then threw back 2 piles as well.
When it comes to food: don’t assume anything, offer everything, and try, try, try again. Borrowing from Ellyn Satter’s division of responsibility, I say this:
- The job of every parent is to offer young children nutritious and diverse food.
- The job of every child is to eat when hungry and stop when full.
We almost missed the mark and drove past an opportunity for something new. Fortunately O got lucky–we’ll see how long the fish egg desire persists.