I like to think I am spontaneous, and at times I can be. But who am I kidding, I love to plan. I love to put trips together for my friends and often find myself organizing hotels, tickets and arrangements for people. Rarely do things go awry and at the end of a trip, I hold onto the photos and silly memories as some of my most cherished possessions.
Being a mother, however, does not allow one to really plan very well. I have learned this rather quickly and had to adopt a fast-on-my-feet mentality. I have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy child who until very recently ate everything I gave him. Whole tomatoes as a snack, sweet potatoes in every variety and avocadoes peeled and chopped. He would look at a salad bar like it was the candy store. But sadly, this trend of healthy eating came to a quick, abrupt stop. Not a halt but a stop!
Somehow, my son has developed a super-human skill of knowing what a vegetable is. I know he can see colors, but he can apparently also tell the texture of a vegetable as well. Gone are the days of his plate full of tomatoes and here are the meals with hidden vegetables. My mother-in-law was shocked to see me put lima beans in applesauce. Gross to us, yes, but guess what, it works. I also hide lots of veggies in tomato sauce which has about a 50 percent chance of working.
But because I enjoy planning, even meals that I think will be yum for the hubby and me, I spent an hour one weekend planning out some meals for the week that could incorporate vegetables in hidden varieties. Monday night I finely chopped some squash and made 90-percent lean beef patties with chopped squash to become a somewhat veggie burger. I had leftover beef and made them into veggie/meat balls for spaghetti the next night. I used some fresh mushrooms and made homemade sweet potato “fries” in the oven.
My husband was a good sport, as he usually is, and ate along with us. I made him some tater tots and bacon to accompany his burger, but nonetheless he eats what I make. Sitting down with my son I couldn’t wait to watch him enjoy my veggie/hamburger. One bite and he immediately hated it, threw it on the floor and looked at me like “what is next?” I had just spent 45 mins cooking him what I thought was a nice dinner and he killed it in 2 seconds. Hmmm, time to be creative.
He did manage to eat the potatoes, some applesauce and a glass of milk. I found some yogurt in the fridge and some bananas. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the heck out of my cold burger and potatoes. My lesson learned was that in life, we always need a back up plan. I’ve known this from a financial perspective and a career perspective (much to the chagrin of my parents, being a writer WAS my back up plan!), but never from a parenting perspective. I now know that food needs a backup plan, clothes, even diapers and toys. So the next time you see a mom traveling with a suitcase for a diaper bag, you’ll know why.
And wouldn’t’ you know, the next night, the exact same veggie/meat balls in spaghetti were the best thing he’d ever tasted. He ate green beans doused in tomato sauce, the same mushrooms from the night before, whole-wheat pasta and tomatoes as well as the squash in the meatballs. Who knew!