We (my husband and I) want our kids to have access to healthy snacks. I do not want to be asked several times a day, “I’m hungry. What can I eat?” Although I very vividly remember saying this to my mom growing up. [Sorry, Mom! Paybacks are the pits.] One of our set ups in the kitchen is to have a full fruit basket….apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi. The kids know that they are welcome to enjoy the fruit whenever. No questions needed.
When our two-year-old joined in on the easily accessing of countertop fruit, he was eating unwashed fruit, so we put a kibosh to that and started pre-washing all of the fruit. It seemed like everything was going as planned. And then we started finding half-eaten or two-bite eaten apples. Everywhere. Under the couch. On the counter. In the pantry. On the stairs. On the bedroom floor. On the bathroom countertop. They were taking over. I tried to ignore it. But one day the one two-bite-eaten-apple turned into three two-bite-eaten-apples. And I snapped. I was determined that at the moment in time my son would learn not to waste precious fruit. I really held it together nicely and followed the book: “When you are ready to eat one of your three apples, you may come back downstairs.” He had lots of confused and mad tears, but I was cool. I returned to his room, “Are you ready to eat your apple?” Without a pause for thought, “No!” Okay, I’ve got this. Repeat. Ten times. His answer was finally, “Yes,” but he still wouldn’t touch the darn apple. The power struggle was real. It went on too long. In the midst, I regretted it. There was no lesson learned. If anybody witnessed this power struggle, I’d be embarrassed. Fail.
My husband’s solution is that when our two-year-old wants an apple, we cut it up and only hand out a few pieces at a time. Good idea. Except that I do not want to be involved in this decision of when to eat fruit. And to further justify, none of the kids will touch the cut up apples in the fridge the next day. I’ve considered turning the partially eaten apples into smoothies. Except there is the snot. If I had a compost or chickens, perfect. But we don’t.
I like to think that a blog post should have a purpose, maybe a lesson learned or a recommendation. This one doesn’t. Unless the lesson could be that not everything in parenting has a lesson. The lesson that this is surely a stage, and next time I can’t let this scenario consume my energy. I’m going to keep nodding my head in agreement that the partially eaten fruit is wasteful, but I will also let it pass.