One Strawberry

To get Max to eat one strawberry this morning, we had to resort to coercion and bribery.

First of all, I think the boy is going through a growth spurt. He ate like a pig yesterday, which is not normal for him — he usually doesn’t finish his meals but yesterday he was polishing everything off and asking for more. His little tummy was sticking out by the end of the day, which was funny considering how skinny he is.

Also, there was a time when this kid would eat anything. He used to love fruit and veggies and all sorts of healthy things. But then one day he just decided that there were only going to be a few select delicacies in his food vocabulary, and it’s been a battle ever since to get him to eat something that grew out of the ground and wasn’t chopped, pressed, and formed into a breaded nugget shape.

So, this morning again he’s coming up to me after finishing his breakfast of Lucky Charms, and this time he’s asking me to take him to Chili’s. Nevermind that it’s 8:30 Saturday morning and I haven’t had more than half a cup of coffee yet, and this kid wants to follow up on brekkie with some baby back ribs. So methinks – how about using this ravenous hunger to introduce something simple, like fruit.

First tried the blueberries. My god you would have thought I was offering him a plate of bugs. “So how about a strawberry then, Max?” He muttered something that remotely sounded like a yes, so here we go washing and cleaning one strawberry and sticking it on a plate, right in the middle of the dish.

No strawberry for you kiddo, eh? How about if I chase you around? Nah, that kid is too wiggly and I’m sore all over from painting and cleaning our house yesterday. Not gonna happen. But as the old saying goes: Youth and beauty will always be overcome by age and treachery.

First came the bribe. “We’ll get you a prize if you eat this one strawberry” we offered. But Max was smarter than that. He knew he’d have to eat a vegetable — “No way!” So we then hit him where we knew he’d have no defense; his bike. We offered to take him outside for a bike ride, and this is his obsession. You could almost see the smoke pouring out of his ears as he struggled to reconcile the opportunity versus the consequences. We had to turn our heads to laugh so he wouldn’t see.

Finally, kicking and screaming, he took a bite. And then another. Trying to find some way out, which was futile, he finally started going for it. Of course he will never admit that he liked it, but he was going pretty quick on that little strawberry by the end.

And now he’s riding up and down the street on his bike. The strawberry has not killed him, and he’ll live to see another day.

And now I know how to get him to eat broccoli.