I’m just going to leave this here at the top: I promise that we have tried everything. But…
I just found these carrots on the table near my son’s lunch bag.
Two lonely carrots.
This morning, they were half of a quartet, nestled into a shiny silver container, part of a brilliantly healthy lunch I provided for my darling child.
Who doesn’t eat vegetables. Or fruit. Or most meats. Or, honestly, many foods that aren’t beige. Except yogurt. He eats vanilla yogurt. And hamburgers. Plain hamburgers.
There was one amazing day in his 7 years on this planet when he wavered ever-so-slightly in his anti-vegetable convictions and said he would eat carrots.
To be precise, he said he would eat baby carrots, the “new” ones that look “wet.”
And he did: he ate carrots! For a week – or maybe two – the memory is a little hazy now, blurred by my euphoria, faded by time…
Because of course he stopped. And, being who he is, he now refuses to eat the carrots. Nevertheless, I continue to put carrots in his lunch, undeterred by their daily return, now a little dry and sad looking, languishing in the bottom of the container in the bottom of his bag. Every day, I add the carrots, three if they are “big”; four if they are “small.” (These are baby carrots; they are, by definition, not big. This fact is of no interest to my child.)
He does not eat them at school. Ever. He has not eaten carrots for lunch this entire school year. When he comes home, I open his lunch box and, ever hopeful, peer inside each container. Maybe today he ate an apple. Possibly he consumed some grapes. Finally, wearily, I check the carrots. They are always there.
I pick up the open container and go in search of the boy. I point out that he has not eaten his carrots. He agrees that this is the case. I tell him he must eat his carrots. Mostly, he consents to eat two.
I eat the other two.
Later, after he is asleep, I begin again. I open the fridge and remove four small, wet baby carrots. I nestle them into the shiny container. I tuck the container into his lunch bag. I send them to school, glaringly obvious in a sea of beige food.
Maybe today he will eat them.
PS – The 7-year-old in question has approved this post, though he wants you to know that I have exaggerated a little. His 9-year-old brother also approves this post, doesn’t believe there’s much exaggeration, and would like you to know that he eats everything.