Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

The Power of “No, Thank You” Bites

“Take a ‘no, thank you’ bite,” I sometimes to tell my children in an attempt to get them to try new things. Unlike me, they don’t gravitate towards fruits and vegetables, while I’ve seldom met one of either I didn’t like. My 9-year-old Levi does a little better than his 11-year-old sister with most of the fruits and veggies, but he’s had an aversion to poultry and some meats ever since he found me elbow deep stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey a few years ago. Liv on the other hand used to sit in her high chair as a baby and work yogurt around in her mouth until she could spit the strawberries out on the tray. Liv is still quick to say she doesn’t like something, especially if she’s already been persuaded to try it.

This was the case last weekend when I told her I was making goetta, turkey bacon, and toast for breakfast. Liv loves the last two but was quick to let me know she wanted no part of the first.

“I’ve already tried it and I don’t like it,” she protested when I suggested she should try it again. Rather than forcing the issue, I proceeded to turn on the burner, get out a skillet, and start slicing the goetta to form patties. Soon, Liv – who is fascinated by the oven and shows an interest in cooking – was by my side asking if she could help. I had her was her hands and then showed her how to shape the goetta before gently placing  it into the pan. As she did this and good smells filled the kitchen, Liv murmured, “Maybe I’ll try the goetta again.” Not wanting to show too much enthusiasm, I simply smiled in response.

After Liv made a few pieces of bacon and goetta for her Littlest Pet Shops, I had her butter toast (we need a whole loaf for our brood) and set the table. Then we called all the guys to come eat. My husband blessed the food and as he gave thanks for those who had prepared it, I snuck a peek at Liv, who was grinning like the cat that got at the cream. I continued to watch her as she took her first bite of goetta and knew the “no, thank you bite” days were over. At least as far as that particular food is concerned.

“See Liv, you do like goetta.”

“I like this goetta. I guess my taste buds changed,” was her reply, followed by, “Mommy, can I try that hot sauce on it?”

Children’s  tastes, be it for a food, a sport, or an instrument, do change. We parents have to hang on to this hope as we have our children try new things.

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