Abbey and I’d been existing largely on Lunchables, cereal and frozen pizza over the past couple of meals, and I was feeling like a failure as a father by not providing proper sustenance to my growing little girl. So even though I’d endured an incredibly taxing day as a technical communicator, had several deadlines looming as a freelance writer, and it was Bath Night for both us, I decided to cook dinner.
Not microwave or heat something up, or have something delivered or even cruise through Burger King (again). Nope, I was going to feed my child … and by extension myself — ’cause Pop-Tarts for dinner is just sad and at my age it goes straight to my thighs.
So I fired up (or rather plugged in) the Deluxe George Foreman Grill, soaked some pork chops in Dale’s, thawed out some broccoli and tossed a couple of individual Kraft Macaroni and Cheese containers in the microwave (yes, I used the microwave … I’m more “Man vs. Food” than Rachel Ray. So give me a break).
All this for a guy who not too long ago defined a good meal at home as string cheese, Hot Pockets and Rumplemintz.
I bet I spent 20 minutes slaving away in the kitchen. Then to complete the evening’s healthy festivities, I set the table (i.e. coffee table) with age-appropriate placemats. Jellybean went with Dora the Explorer and I opted for the Disney Princesses. I gotta admit that I’ve got something of a cartoon crush on Belle, looking a might beastly myself.
An obviously hungry Jellybean popped a piece of pork chop in her mouth. I returned to the table just in time to watch her spit it out in her napkin and make a face like she’d just licked the underside of a day-old dead turtle.
“I don’t like that,” she said, crossing her arms. “Sorry.”
The same went for the broccoli, which she’ll order every time we go to Applebee’s and scarf it down like she’s at the Last Supper. So despite my beautiful spread, Jellybean settled for macaroni and cheese — all of it, in fact.
But that’s better than what she usually survives on: Go-Gurt, of which she averages a 16-pack per week (like a Monday-Friday kinda week). On the weekends I just squeeze out a couple dozen into an IV and set up mainline drip while she watches SpongeBob.
After this past week’s debacle, I formerly absolve myself as a poor provider of nutrition. Save for strapping her into her Disney Princess beanbag chair and force-feeding her like something in a Weird Al Yankovic video, I can’t do much about the fact that she won’t eat anything other than varieties of dairy or cheese.
What’s frustrating is hear how “great” she ate at other people’s house. It’s not like I pulled the whole pork chop idea out of thin air. She sucked the other white meat up like a Dyson when she spent the night at her G-Daddy’s house, and “promised” to eat it when we went grocery shopping for our weeks’ worth of meals.
Then she spit it into a napkin. She wasn’t even sneaky enough to feed it to the dog. I begged. I pleaded. I bribed with vanilla Oreos … nothing. “I don’t like it” was all she said before skulking off toward the refrigerator.
We’ve got to find a compromise. I wonder if Go-Gurt comes in pork chop flavor?
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com.