I am not sure if the gag reflex is hereditary…but if it is, then I have passed this lovely involuntary “gift” to my children. Some people pass along straight teeth, shiny hair, or mathematical intelligence. Mine get the gag reflex?! Smells, a gross story, and certainly a strange tasting food or texture can easily send me in to the gag reflex. Dehn Fung was my childhood friend from Vietnam. We had their family over often for dinner. To repay the favor, her father prepared a family delicacy: egg rolls made of squid.
At first it was not clear what this wonderful ingredient was…but after many hand gestures that mimicked octopus movements it was clear that we were eating squid. In front of Dehn’s father I was encouraged to taste the eggroll and it ended with a terrible case of my gag reflex. So as frustrating as tonight was…I can sympathize…or at least understand that their body is responding even when they would like to politely choke it down. Until tonight though, I had actually forgotten that my children on more than one occasion had gagged after “trying” something new that had been brought to the dinner table!
The memory came rip roaring back to me tonight as Caleb gagged on his summer squash. (Come on people, we are talking squash not squid!) Last summer we went through a “phase” where most meals ended in one or more children gagging…and Kylee even threw up her entire meal on her dinner plate after trying something she just couldn’t keep down. I guess I had suppressed those memories, as most moms don’t want to think of their cooking as “gag” worthy! The entire experience is really dramatic and amazingly the other children take the “cue” that getting out of trying something new is ended with a “gag”. So even if it is not hereditary it is definitely contagious. But I digress.
Back to tonight. I think the thing about tonight that felt pretty doggone great was that we hadn’t had the gag reflex incident in many many months, and yet we have continued to try new recipes and vegetables each week. So somehow tonight was a “win” in the family journey with trying new and healthy food!
I am sharing this for two reasons: I share it because I realized you all might enjoy one of the many vegetable recipes we had tonight. (I have included them at the bottom.) I know what you are thinking: “Nope—because your children GAGGED when they ate them!” Haha…yes, yes…but the other 2 ate them and Chris and I loved them!
I also share this to remind you that it is NOT easy to be mom. It is SO frustrating when you devote the energy to pick a great (often healthy) menu for the week and you spend the time going to the grocery store (or stores), you buy all the ingredients, and you plan out your day in such a way to ensure that you have enough time to prepare the meal “just right”. Only to have your children (and sometimes your husband) not only turn up their noses; but they whine, complain, lay their heads on the table, and even scream and cry in response to the meal you just prepared! So now you are sweating (from the heat in the kitchen) and you are fuming because of the fact that all that love, time and energy is so UTTERLY UNAPPRECIATED. Is it any wonder that McDonald’s is a multi-billion dollar business?
Take heart. There is hope. My children who only ate broccoli will now eat carrots, kale chips, asparagus, sweet potatos, and they will try (without gagging) spinach, squash, zucchini, peas, brussel sprouts, and many, many other vegetables. The same pesto pasta that was upchucked on her plate, is now Kylee’s absolute favorite! Stay with it. Keep up the good fight. If they need to go to time out for throwing their plate on the floor (Joshua last summer), or if they need to put a little parmesan cheese on their veggies to make them a little more palatable (last night), or if they need to go to bed with their tummies a little less full than usual…stay strong. It does get better.
The love, effort and intention that you put in to your family meals really does matter. And remember even in the heat of that kitchen disappointment…YOU ARE A GREAT MOM!
The “gagged on” Summer Squash
Mashed Sweet Potatos…we WILL be serving this at Thanksgiving…
String Beans with Garlic…awesome
Kale Chips…Cockerham Family Favorite
Whole Wheat Cous Cous…I just followed the box!
Dessert was Banana/Strawberry smoothie popsicles
Smoothie…I just mixed in a blender strawberries, banana, and water. (This is where I sometimes get sneaky and throw in some spinach, etc.) Today it was just fruit. We had smoothies with our lunch and then the leftovers were poured in to ice cube trays and became frozen dessert treats for dinner!