For over two years I prided myself on my son’s fantastic and voracious appetite. Today, my son convinced me that appetite is no longer in his vocabulary, or skill set. Rafa has officially entered the horrible phase where everything is awful. I saw a glimmer of hope that he would still keep his love for food. Nah. Nope. Those days are over. Today, I cooked a simple beetroot and edamame risotto with sheep’s cheese, dill and mint. It wasn’t amazing, but it was pretty reasonable for the 30 minutes I spent on it. It was food on the table. Plenty of veggies, plenty of carbs, plenty of protein, and the fresh herbs and melting sheep’s cheese sort of blended it all together. I thought it was quite alright.
The little rat judged my food like a Michelin food critic, and he wasn’t happy about the plate I served him. Every ingredient was carefully separated from everything else, before it was tasted. Dill and mint were out of question, and not even allowed on the plate. What was on the plate was tasted. Beetroot first. A small bite. That clearly was not to his liking. The rest of the beetroot went on the nope pile. Cheese? That went in well, but he didn’t get as much cheese as he would have liked. The edamame beans were up next, and that was okay. Oh wait, there’s a skin on these beans. Get out. Back on the plate! After removing skins on each individual bean, they were passable. Lastly, there was the rice, which made up about 50 to 70 percent of the meal. I’m not sure what I did wrong there. Every scoop came out faster than it went in. My son officially turned into the thing I feared most.
What a fucking mess.
One aspect that made the whole ordeal extra problematic was the fact that St. Nicolas – or maybe it was the neighbors, we can’t be sure – put chocolate in front of our door. Rafa was very eager to have the chocolate, but we promised him a piece, for later, for desert. So what do you do when a kid spits out every scoop of food you cooked for him, but keeps reminding you that you promised him chocolate. You try to be firm and consistent. But this kids knows me well, and he has many tricks up his sleeve. There were some negotiations. I was clearly on the losing end. There were cries, firm ‘no’s, promises to finish ‘these few scoops’, and, not much after, risotto all over the table, chair, and floor.
I didn’t know what to do. I was cornered. I didn’t read about this shit. My kid was perfect until last week. There was never any need. Something possessed him, and now he’s no longer him.
After finishing one-third of a half-filled plate, and Rafa screaming out his last battle cry, I didn’t know any more what to do. I surrendered and hugged him. I made an unspoken agreement with myself that I would eat half of his chocolate. This at least gave me a sense of winning. Five minutes later he was the happiest boy in the world. “Chocolate delicious, papa!” He’s so unpredictable these days, but chocolate apparently always works. He’s just like his dad.