Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

No Pinching, Please
Jennifer Flaten

Here is my helpful parenting tip of the week, don’t worry I won’t make a habit of this, besides you probably don’t want parenting advice from me-on St. Patrick’s Day don’t tell the children they can pinch anyone who isn’t wearing green.

I meant they could pinch their siblings, not fellow shoppers in the grocery store. Also, when confronted by the angry “pinchee” saying “Erin go Bragh” and chuckling like a deranged leprechaun doesn’t make it better.

Thanks to this most recent trip to the store, I think I will need to dip into the legal defense fund-currently housed in a mason jar on my counter.

Only slightly off topic, does anyone really think encouraging people drunk on green beer to pinch people is a good idea?

In the spirit of green beer, which many Wisconsinites count as a serving of vegetables on St. Patrick’s Day, I was tempted to dye some food item green today. I resisted. It is hard enough to get all three kids to eat the entire meal without throwing in some green potatoes or green milk. I still have vivid memories of the time my mother made mashed potatoes on Valentine’s Day and dyed them red-or actually a watery shade of pink. I love mashed potatoes but couldn’t bring myself to eat pinkish ones.

I don’t even joke about green cheese due to a small cooking mishap we had that involved sprinkling green, aka moldy, cheese on a pizza. In my defense, we, which means a kid, caught it before we, I mean, I, put it in the oven bake. Of course, this goes a long way towards explaining why my kids view my cooking with a jaundiced eye.

Usually, at the supper table I can get one of the three kids to try the main dish, but only the main dish; don’t even think about asking them to try the side dish of grilled asparagus. The other kid will try it but she will pick out anything that looks even slightly “weird” (her word, not mine). For the record, many things look “weird” to this kid. Mostly vegetables, oddly enough the desserts never look weird. 

The other kid seems to subsist on nothing but dinner rolls and side dishes. I would worry, but I’ve personally witnessed this kid inhale vast quantities of food he finds appealing. A hint, the food he finds appealing is round and covered with sauce and cheese, obviously, not green cheese. So, he is pretty much your typical 10-year-old boy.

I could just give in and serve chicken nuggets every meal, but I don’t.  I continue to find interesting, okay, so the only one who thinks they are interesting is me, recipes and make them. I also insist we eat at the table, and, this is the hardest one for the kids, act civilized.

Just so we’re clear, acting civilized doesn’t include conveying the food from your plate to your mouth without aid of utensils, nor does it mean serenading us with a symphony of bodily noises. Yes, I realize serenade and symphony sound civilized but add the words “with armpit” and suddenly they are not.

I don’t know if this makes me a good parent, or psychotic, but probably both.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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