the kitchen is closed

Children, damn them, they need to eat. Every day. Multiple times a day. It sounds simple enough, one of those straightforward facts of life. But there is nothing simple about my children’s relationship with food. They always want more of it, without ever quite wanting what it is that I have available. Their insatiable appetites and focus on certain food groups to the exclusion of all others is nothing less than an albatross around my neck. It is my Sisyphean rock. The meatball I keep pushing up the hill that rolls right back down again…uneaten.

I will never truly understand the plight of the parents of bird-like children. The ones who pick delicately, listlessly at the contents of their plates, before asking to be freed from the prison that is the kitchen table. The ones who skip lunch or “forget” to ask for a snack. In our house, “nack” was among the first words ever uttered and “nack time” has not once passed by unnoticed. Blood sugar levels plummet to precariously low levels if more than a couple of hours go by without a top up. Dinner is getting earlier and earlier. One of my kids asked me to make it at 3:45pm the other day.

My husband and I recently put up double doors between our kitchen and our living room as a way to stuff the dam of our children’s constant demand for food. For in the absence of a physical barrier, they have been known to swirl in and out of the kitchen at will, eddies of unquenchable hunger, no matter what time of day it is, no matter when they have last been fed (No, you can’t have“breakfast dessert”). Out of sight, the theory goes, and therefore out of mind, because if the little buggers so much as see snack-food or sweets, they need to have it. And if they aren’t allowed it, they start to beg. And then they beg and beg and beg some more.

You can read the rest of this post here, at Brain, Child Magazine.



Filed under parenting

3 responses to “the kitchen is closed

  1. Hostess

    I don’t get the whole feed-your-kids-what-they-demand-thing. I totally get that a lot of kids are “starving” all of the time and eat more often than others. But I have one not-to-be-named relative who feeds her kids whatever she is making for dinner and that’s what they eat. I have a not-to-be-named relative who caters to her kids, feeding them different things at different times according to the kids’ whims. The first set up her expectations from the get-go. And yes, she does snacks from a limited selection. If they choose to politely say no thanks to the snack offered, they don’t get additional choices. They are required to eat what is on their plates at meals (in some cases it is literally a teaspoon) and can always have more but if they don’t eat the first plate, there isn’t food until the next meal. Her kids so far have not keeled over from hunger. I fall in the middle when anyone is visiting-I follow the Mom’s rules except I do not keep an “open kitchen”. I do tend toward the “you asked for it, now eat it” when an older kid has stated a preference. How do others handle visitors?

  2. Richard Apfel

    Are you sure you are not entitled to 2 paid vacations a year?


    Dad >

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