So I imagine this is how dinner goes down for most of you parents out there: everyone is home by 5 and the perfectly balanced four food group dinner is ready by 530. The kids, who have been reading history books and practicing Bach, come running. Three year old Bobby says ‘Dad, why so little broccoli?’ and 2 year old Suzie chimes in ‘Mom hit me with some more carrots’ as they sit down, join you in a blessing and proceed to gobble down their food with perfect British table manners.
Well in our home that isn’t quite how dinnertime unfolds. Emmi who until recently used to eat everything now violently swipes off anything you put on her Bumbo tray like it’s poison and Miia screams bloody murder at the thought of eating anywhere but the couch as she wails for Peppa Pig. Try and put her on her chair and she goes limp, slides onto the floor, sprawls into snow angel position and proceeds to unleash biblical tantrums.
Enter the Smartie. Good old-fashioned American confectionery that has been making kids happy since 1937. A dietician might tell you that Smarties do not belong in one of the four food groups to which I would say humbug. Just because it is not of a particular group does not mean it does not belong with a particular group. In fact the Smartie is part of a very important fifth food group called Meal Enhancers.
Insert a Smartie of any colour into an otherwise healthful vegetable and protein laden soft shell taco such that it visibly protrudes from it and you have a cosmic confluence. All of a sudden it’s as if the seas have calmed and the winds have stilled. Our good ship is back on course.
Miia hops right back on her chair with ramrod posture and with perfect manners asks for her dinner. And true to form Emmi follows suit, albeit in her own language. Sure it’s a bit of sugar and perhaps it wasn’t included in my Parenting 101 manual but man, on occasion it is precisely the right antidote to Acute Caloric Intake Aversion.
Endnote: While Miia may have resumed dinner on her chair she finished it 30 feet away by the Christmas tree where I finally cornered her after her mid-meal escape.