Monday, 20 February 2012


Trick them into it..
I know after this post , my reputation and claims of being a good mother will be washed down the drain. The title of the post has the word "trick" in it , which is not so bad by itself. But the moment you understand that the "them" in the title means "children", you would turn away and leave saying.........Horrible Mother!
Inspite of knowing all this , I decided to be honest with the title..because thats EXACTLY what I did with Arno.
I TRICKED him into it!!!..kind of..
A bit of trick, mixed with a pinch of drama with a bucketful of love offcourse!
The end result is that he LOVES eating vegetables now!!(Touch wood, iron, cloth..whatever is takes to keep it this way) !
Like most kids he was not a fan of vegetables in any form. The mom was upset no doubt but the dad was even more. From time to time, he would look at the mom almost accusingly and say, "why, WHY doesnt he eat vegetables?". (I confirmed with my mother-in-law that this guy was not a vegetable eater either in his childhood ,Ha ha!)
When I heard the mommy-world around me on this issue, several suggestions were floating around. Here are some:
1. Mash all the vegetables together (he will not recognize what he is eating)
2. Cut the veggies into very small pieces and put in chicken curry with big chicken pieces (the small veggies will not be noticeable)
3. Put it on pizza (most kids love pizza so he will eat anyway)
4. Refer to other kids (You know how good boys like Tom/Dick/Harry LOVE vegetables??)
5. Reward him if he eats a whole carrot. (use your negotiation skills)
6...and so on.
Some of the above worked, some didn't. Honestly speaking I was not so worried. I myself hated vegetables at his age...I LOVE ALL VEGGIES things do change as we grow...right? However, the mission continued.....
Couple of weeks back, Abhijit went to India for ten days. Arnos school was on, so we both stayed back. He was a bit sad so in order to cheer him up we made a plan. On a piece of paper we wrote down fun activities for the next 10 days which will help us miss papa less. Apart from fun activities like "watching a movie while eating pizza on the couch", I needed other stuff too so that the list stayed close to "normal" with certain bursts of "abnormally happy and fun " events like the one mentioned above. So I put in "cooking together with mama". Little did I know then that this activity, written down with so much indifference would have such an impact on me, Arno and the vegetables! The second evening we had the "cooking with mama" in our "list". So mother-son duo went shopping. I wanted something simple and healthy so bought some vegetables , some garlic bread and some lovely mozzarella and tomato for a salad.
Arno was very excited.
A:  Does "cooking with mama" mean HELPING you or REALLY cooking MYSELF?
That question triggered the flash bulb in my mind...the TRICKY mama rose to action.
Me: I cook ALWAYS. Today I am going to sit and enjoy the food which YOU cook!
From the looks, tricky mama already scored a point.
So I took out a frying pan (he opened the cupboard for me), I took out the vegetables (he opened the fridge), I took out the olive oil and garlic (he counted three garlic pods for me), I chopped it (he brought me the chopping board), I took out the salt and the pepper, I switched on the gas, I poured the oil, ....took a spatula , smiled and gave it in his hands saying, "NOW its all YOURS, cook me a delicious garlic-veg-fry"!
You should have seen his eyes sparkle as I handed over this huge responsibility to him. He put on my apron and with a very serious look put the chopped garlic in the sizzling oil. Then in went the vegetables. The mom stood by him with a proud look in her eyes and questions like,
"Did you wait till the garlic was brown before you put the veggies?"
"are you moving the spatula from left to right or right to left?"
"Do you think you might need some pepper?"
 Can you imagine what such serious questions can do to a seven year old kid? 
He happily cooked...and cooked...
A: mama , can you taste it now just to check?
Me: (took a spoon full in my mouth, nodded, eyes got bigger)
Wow, its yummy!!! (it truly was delicious)
and then with a pinch of drama ..I added,
"Can you check the salt dear? maybe a bit ..a little bit more to make it perfect?"
All this with a serious look.
He took a small bite. Very serious. Almost the climax.
"You are right mama, I think a bit more pepper too".
At the dinner table,  (the mom says with bucket full of love): "This is so nice, good that we made this plan to cook..otherwise  I would never have known what a wonderful cook you are".
He was beaming...with pride...first took a spoon full of the garlic-veggies, ate it and ASKED FOR IT AGAIN!!
I almost fell off my chair...
In the last three weeks, Arno has cooked and ate this dish four times....
A bit of trick, mixed with a pinch of drama with a bucketful of love worked!!