Chef Boyardee with a Punch


Simply put, my son isn't much into eating. At least when he's at home with us. At daycare he seems to do well. The "ate everything" or "ate most" box is checked beside breakfast and lunch on his report sheet every day. But, I'd have to give him a "ate next to nothing" for his dinner score. "Threw most on floor" would also cover it. I've tried a variety of tricks, tactics and techniques. I've made things from scratch thinking "fresh is best". I've tried frozen, canned, and boxed. I've showcased fruit, veggies and nearly every toddler-appropriate entree I can think of. I've offered it in bowls and straight onto the high chair tray. I've made up songs about eating and choreographed an eating dance. These did garner a laugh and even a clap once, but did not make the child eat.

Finally, in desperation one day, I picked up some Chef Boyardee pasta meals at the grocery. I'm honestly not sure what moved me to do so, but it could have been the faint childhood memory of my brother pining for The Chef and proclaiming he could eat it every day. And my mom taking him up on it and serving it for a month straight. Wonder if he still likes it?

Anyway...I hit the jackpot. Adam LOVES the stuff. He gets excited just looking at the container. I can barely keep him in the cart when we go down the Canned Pasta with a Shelf Life aisle at the store. He revels in the sloppiness of the sauce. He licks his fingers and his wrists to get every last drop. It is an eating experience for him that lasts at least 30 minutes. This allows me to, at times, mix a pre-dinner vodka tonic (with crushed ice, salt on the rim and extra lemon) in a non-frenzied state. Are you reading win-win here?

About the same time I struck mommy gold with the pasta, I also discovered Adam's love of corn. This has tempered my guilt a little over the whole Chef thing. At least I can add a couple spoons of corn to raise the quality of Adam's fine dining experience from one star to at least two.

In other Adam events, since I know you are now compelled, on Monday he officially graduated from the Infant class to Young Toddler. I was so proud! The handbook says a child graduates when they are beginning to be weaned off their bottles, can eat table food, can follow simple directions, and can actively play with children their age and older. The reality is he was "graduated" because he was hitting and pulling hair of kids much younger who could not defend themselves. Humph. So much for genius.

I can see it now. In a few years someone will ask Adam what his favorite food is. He will say "Chef Boyardee ravioli" and then give them a punch in the nose and a pull of the hair just for emphasis.

Until next time (wiping up pasta sauce)


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