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happysmileylady

Committing myself to cooking with the kids has been hard

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But SO SO worth it.   For us, there has been NO better therapy for our feeding issues.  I committed a few weeks ago.  I have been doing it off an on, but about 4 or 5 weeks ago, I fully committed to each kid, one day a week, full dinner meal that they have to select and cook themselves.  I made them select a grain (rice or biscuits or bread or noodles, something like that) and a veggie or fruit, and a meat/main dish.  

DD10 has introduced us to new vegetables.  Brussel sprouts.  Apparently, my DH loves brussel sprouts. I had no idea.  My DH doesn't really do most veggies.  I mean he *will* eat vegetables, but he's very much a meat and potatoes guy.  And apparently brussel sprouts too lo.  We also tried asparagus.  That was really still a no go for everyone.  But hey, we tried it!

DD8 has been trying seafood.  Fish and shrimp.  Seafood can be a bit more expensive here in the midwest than it is on the coasts, but I try to have at least one seafood meal a week.  And I love that DD8 is trying it.  

DS6 is starting to realize that fruit tastes good.  I posted about his canteloupe experience.  As long as he takes little bites with it, canteloupe is no problem for him.  Yesterday, I mentioned to DD10 that I had some strawberries if she wanted them with lunch.  DS6 turned around all curious..."Strawberries?"  I said, sure, you want to try one?  He was TOTALLY game.  He said it smells like candy, and when he licked it, it tasted like juice.  (I said, yes, that's one way they make juice lol....he will drink most straight fruit juices.)  His first bit it was a bit big and he gagged, but when I asked if he wanted to try again, he took a very small bite and was fine with it.  He nibbled on that for a few minutes before he decided he was done, but after that initial gag, there was no other reaction.  

 

And academically, DD10 is getting so much faster at doing calculations in her head, at least in part.  I, um............don't have a full set of measuring cups lol.  She's getting pretty good at knowing how much of which fraction cup is needed to make up what the recipe calls for lol.  She's my reading hater, but she doesn't fight reading a recipe.  And DD8 and DS6 are also reading recipes to me.  

 

 

AND............um..............first aid.  We have had a mishap or two lol.  

 

Because there are 3 of them, this is 3 nights a week, every week, in addition to regular school.  And some nights, I look at the menu and just go..............ugh............do I have to make this with them?  Can't I just toss it in the oven myself and be done.  And I will admit sometimes, I do make an executive decision and decide on something easier.  (sometimes the plan decides for me.....it's hard to make paprika chicken after you find out that your DH used ALL the paprika when he grilled the other day lol.)  And then, *something* happens each time, that reminds me exactly why I made this commitment and it's really working.

Tonight it was DS6 and I making glazed ham steaks with pineapple rings.  He *LOVES* ham.  I opened the can of pineapple and again he was like..."smells like candy."  I gave him a piece of a pineapple ring and he smelled it, then just up and popped it into his mouth!  I was speechless!  I handed him another piece to see if it would happen again......and it did!  Until the canteloupe thing, he ate NO produce regularly, and even now, he only takes the canteloupe in small doses.  But I think next week I am going to buy some fruit cups and see what happens!

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I am so beyond intrigued! And impressed!!! Good on you Mamma. I struggle to bring myself to cook 3/4 of the time, much less bring in dealing with kids. I usually am like "leave me alone to cook with my wine and my podcast!!" 

Can you give some more detail of how you came to this/initiated it/encouraged the kids? I would love to do something similar, theoretically, to encourage my youngest who is crazy picky, but loves to help cook. And my non-enthusistic cooks still need to learn. However my impatience after a day of school has me usually shooing people out of the kitchen, rather than encouraging them to learn. So I really admire what you are doing. I think I should suck it up and try to do similar. Such a great thing you are doing! 

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45 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I am so beyond intrigued! And impressed!!! Good on you Mamma. I struggle to bring myself to cook 3/4 of the time, much less bring in dealing with kids. I usually am like "leave me alone to cook with my wine and my podcast!!" 

Can you give some more detail of how you came to this/initiated it/encouraged the kids? I would love to do something similar, theoretically, to encourage my youngest who is crazy picky, but loves to help cook. And my non-enthusistic cooks still need to learn. However my impatience after a day of school has me usually shooing people out of the kitchen, rather than encouraging them to learn. So I really admire what you are doing. I think I should suck it up and try to do similar. Such a great thing you are doing! 

I am not going to lie......it's HARD.  Like....HARD.  It's a very big priority for me, and my DD8's ASD diagnosis is a major factor in that.  In menu when she was two was like drywall, books, milk, cookies, drywall and wood blocks lol.  We spent time in OT feeding therapy and there was a whole lot of pudding on the floor, drawing in applesauce, and then...................tasting fruit loops.  I wasn't there to get my kid to eat fruit loops, I was there to get her to eat healthy foods.   

How I came to this... there are two primary factors and lots of secondary.  First primary....DD8 was in OT for feeding therapy (she has an ASD diagnosis) and so much of the therapy was a lot of food "play."  Which I think is important.  But then when it came to actually trying foods, they had her trying things like fruit loops and spicy cheez-its.  Which....don't get me wrong, I totally get that they were exposing her to a variety of flavors.  But I wanted those flavors to be............real food.  So when we ran into insurance issues, I stopped sending her back.  I can certainly have her play with foods.....in way that is also productive/functional.  And, she can try foods in that play....that are still real food.    Second primary.....I like being a homemaker.  I am not a master chef.  I will never be a cook on food network.  But I like providing a good meal for my family and as an extension, I like trying new things.  SO, for me, having the kids cook with me (for me) is a natural extension of being that homemaker mommy  person.

Initiated...this year, honestly, I just committed.  I just said, this is a goal.  If DD8 (and DS6-no diagnosis, but on the border) were in school, she would be pulled out for therapies that ultimately were probably not productive for her.  So, therapy at home.  And I just felt like after all our previous experinces, I could produce better outcomes.  And I have seen them through my "off and on" work.  SO, I just said, this year, this is what we are doing.

 

Execution....SO, yeah.

I run our school year on a 6week on, 1 week off program, generally.  So when we started, I pulled out all my cook books.  I have a..............................large................collection.  I might be a cookbook hoarder.  Most are Taste of Home, which I have found over the years generally fits how we eat and how I cook.  Anyway, I pulled them out and talked to the kids about healthy eating.  Dinners with a protein main dish, a grain and a vegetable or two.  And I had them each pick 6 meals....so 6 protein main dishes, 6 grains and 6 vegetables or fruits (plus any additional fruit of veggie if they spotted something.)  This took nearly a full week lol.  I wrote them all out, then fitted them into my meal planning book and worked other meals around it.  (I also plan breakfasts and lunches.....I meal plan hard core in general lol)  That means though that each week, I don't have to think about meals until our next week off.

 

 

My kids aren't as excited about trying new foods as they are about being in the kitchen with me.....kind of like how they aren't as excited about catching fish as they are about being at the pond with DH lol.  But that excitement of being there working with mom bleeds to excitement about other things.  And, we ALL happily try new things and we (DH and I) make it perfectly OK to not like something and always have standbys available.  And there have been times where it just does not work and we have ordered pizza, and that's all totally ok to.  

 

(sorry for any rambling above.............I should probably be in bed so late lol, I repeated myself a lot lol.  Sorry!)

Edited by happysmileylady
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55 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I struggle to bring myself to cook 3/4 of the time, much less bring in dealing with kids. I usually am like "leave me alone to cook with my wine and my podcast!!" 

To address this specifically....those nights the kids aren't with me, I am like "OMG....GO AWAY!"  My kitchen here is a galley style kitchen, so small, I feel so claustrophobic when it's even just me.  Making breakfasts in the morning, I can be just scrambling eggs and I am like EVERYONE OUT!!!!! lol   

When I am cooking with them, the only kid allowed in the kitchen with me is the kid who is cooking.  And DH knows this and runs interference when necessary. "Come on kids, let mommy cook, she will call you when it's ready."

 

But I will say that because I am bringing each one in............I feel less guilty about shooing them out.  I can safely say "Your Turn Is Tomorrow, so GO AWAY tonight, I will call you to the table when dinner is ready."

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Good for you! That sounds amazing, and a big commitment on your part. Sounds like it's working really well. 😄

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This is so wonderful to read! I'm so happy for you and your kids, I almost couldn't be more excited if I actually knew them. Good job!

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It sounds like you're dealing with fairly extreme picky eaters. Have you tried serving disassembled meals? I do this cooking myself but basically you cook the parts separately, serve everything on the table, and let them assemble on their own. So for instance for a stir fry I might serve the spicy veggies, green veggies, meat, tofu, noodles, eggs, and sauce in separate bowls. Pasta dishes like parmiagiana or Swedish meatballs are easy to keep disassembled. Then they can choose how and what to eat as long as they have at least one protein, carb, and green veggies. It gives them a similar feeling of ownership over their meal. Might help on the nights they aren't cooking with you.

Great job cooking with them three nights a week! 

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29 minutes ago, Sarah0000 said:

It sounds like you're dealing with fairly extreme picky eaters. Have you tried serving disassembled meals? I do this cooking myself but basically you cook the parts separately, serve everything on the table, and let them assemble on their own. So for instance for a stir fry I might serve the spicy veggies, green veggies, meat, tofu, noodles, eggs, and sauce in separate bowls. Pasta dishes like parmiagiana or Swedish meatballs are easy to keep disassembled. Then they can choose how and what to eat as long as they have at least one protein, carb, and green veggies. It gives them a similar feeling of ownership over their meal. Might help on the nights they aren't cooking with you.

Great job cooking with them three nights a week! 

Yes there are times we do this.  There are also times we do modified dishes.  Our biggest success stories come from food chaining and cooking together.  Tacos were our biggest success with the disassembled meal concept, but it wasn't really possible to even do that before the food chaining and cooking together happened.  Food chaining gained us the cheese, and cooking together gained us the meat.  I work all the angles I can manage 😁

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Good for you! This is an area that, prior to having kids, I always thought I'd love. In practice, I can barely stand it. They help with various kitchen chores, but my almost 8 year old could be doing quite a bit more. 

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I am so impressed by this.  It sounds like hard work but huge benefits.  

Can your kids choose anything?  I feel like if I let my youngest choose we’d eat the same thing over and over.  

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