Things My Children Have Said at the Dinner Table in the Past Six Months. I Swear This is True.

Jack:  “I LOVE rice!”

Ben:  “What are those things that look like ravioli but they’re not?” Me:  “Dumplings?” Ben:  “Yeah! Those are good. Can you make them again?”

Ben:  “Can I have another piece of lettuce?”

Jack:  “Carrots make you strong. Look at my muscles.”

Ben:  “Can you make corn on the cob again?  Dr. Fried said that if I eat more corn on the cob that maybe my teeth will start to fall out and then the tooth fairy will come. I’m going to eat ALL the corn on that plate.”

Jack:  “Coach Dave said that I need to eat lots of vegetables to be good at soccer. And cucumbers are vegetables. I like cucumbers.”

OK, so there might be a little stretching the truth in there, but more importantly, there has been no fighting, no forcing and no bribing.

Just putting the food on the table and offering it. It may take six months to get in a new food or two, but it’s working. For some of you, the fact that my four year old said he loves rice isn’t a big deal. But for us, the night that that happened, my husband and I looked at each other and were paralyzed, as if, if we moved, something would change his mind. But he said it. And then he had more. It’s all about the small successes coupled with many, many, many deep breaths. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the dentist and the soccer coach to help.

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136 thoughts on “Things My Children Have Said at the Dinner Table in the Past Six Months. I Swear This is True.

  1. I just got my 11-year-old to eat rice. Until now, she used to take a bite and force herself to dry heave until she actually threw up a little in her mouth. No joke. And my kids won’t eat any of the other stuff on your list, besides corn. So congrats!!

    1. We’ve had that same experience with my youngest. The smallest bite of lettuce and there, right on the table. Gross. Also, I must admit, that in addition to the good things my kids have said at the table, there is a blog post I WON’T write called, Terrible Things My Kids Said at the Dinner Table, which includes comments such as “Gross!” and “I hate spinach!” Small victories. Must celebrate the small victories 🙂

  2. This post had me LOLing for a few minutes. After a career of 30 years most of it spent in fine dining I now cook for kids and should write down some of the things they say. It is poetic.

    1. You should! Sometimes they are so funny. I’m thinking maybe I should bring superhero capes to dinner and tell them what kind of vegetables superheroes eat! As a matter of fact, I’m going to try that tonight!

  3. Robin this is hysterical. “I love rice” reminds me of “I love lamp.” (Anchorman).

    My favorite from our dinner table is when my three year old will declare in rapid fire: “I love (x)!” (minute later) “I don’t like (x) anymore.” (two minutes later) “Mommy do I like (x)?”

    I try to remind myself that this means their palates are still developing – we have all the time in the world to teach them by modeling, and at the end of the day, I really think that’s how they’ll learn! Keep up the good fight! 🙂

    1. haha! Yes- exactly why I try not to serve the same new food two days in a row. The first time, if by some miracle they like it, the second day they will change their mind! But you are right that we DO have all the time in the world to get there..so, slow and steady!

  4. That is adorable! My favorite is the dumplings comment, “what are those things that look like ravioli’s but are not?” Too cute!

  5. Too funny!!! My little one recited the proper name for a boys body part (don’t even ask how that conversation came up)….I thought he said “peanuts” and so he kept repeating it. Made fur a fun pizza night. 😉

  6. my 21 year old asked me if I noticed he was eating the whites of his eggs now that is a child-man and I was as happy as you were about the rice – he has been an extremely picky eater all his life–so when he eats a new food–even if he is in his fifties I will rejoice – (when he is in his fifties I will be in my eighties–very close to 90– but hey, it will be still be something to celebrate)

    1. My 21 year old is also extremely picky (I can’t imagine anyone not liking mushrooms, but he hates them with a passion) although these days he will actually eat a carrot or a piece of broccoli he dunks in ranch dressing instead of just licking the ranch dressing off of it. This too is a victory!

  7. I am so jealous. I offer fruits and veggies to my 10 year old ALL THE TIME, and all she does is lick it. I have been trying for years! Congrats on getting your boys to eat healthy!!

  8. So cute! Thanks for sharing. My son is a teenager now, and we’ve always had the best conversations at the dinner table – just he and I. The only thing he won’t eat is squash, everything else is great. Too many people underestimate the value of time spent preparing and sharing meals.

  9. I remember a time when I was a child, my uncle was dishing up our food and he assumed I wouldn’t eat broccoli, and so was not going to put any on my plate. To prove him wrong I said I wanted lots of broccoli, and I made a point of eating it all. The funny thing is, if he had tried to get me to eat broccoli, I wouldn’t have!

  10. My first had an exaggerated gag reflex. At least 5 Thanksgiving dinners came back up in her plate. When she learned to actually eat rice, my whole life changed for the better.

    1. My youngest has that same issue. It’s really what changed the whole game for me. It’s not about forcing- it’s about gently encouraging and beyond that, it’s about time well spent at the table.

  11. You are definitely very lucky! I don’t have kids my parents tell me lots of stories of my picky eating days. What’s funny is that growing up my parents always told my brother and I that eating lots of carrots will make us have pretty eyes and better vision. I never believe the crap so I never ate carrots. My brother on the other hand took that to heart. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way he planned. My brother ended up having terrible eyesight. (He’s practically blind) I on the other hand, have fabulous sight and beautiful eyes. To this day, my brother says he’s never going to trust my parents again when it comes to food all because of what they told him when he was 4.

  12. Nice! Glad your kids are able to expand their own food horizons without having to be bribed. I wish I had been as open-minded for my parents!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  13. That’s awesome! I hope my Baby A will be that way! We’ve been doing baby led weaning and so far he has been very open to trying new foods including (especially) fruit and veggies for the most part. He’s only 1 now so I hope it sticks!

  14. Persistence is key ! Au-Paired for a family and there kid would not eat vegetables or drink water. Withing 2 weeks I had him cleaning up his plate and one evening his mum came home to him “Look mammy I have yummy water”, she didn’t know what was going on lol

      1. Just wouldn’t give up, the parents would let him eat in front of the telly standing up . . so I switched it off one evening, and told him he had to sit there until his dinner was finished . . . 40 minutes of crying later, he stood up “YEY , look , look I finished” . . . within a week it got less and less to the point of him switching the telly off himself. then I started to ease vegetables into his dinner :p

  15. I like this! My daughter used to eat everything until 20 months, and then she got fussy. I’m of the opinion that it’s a phase she’ll grow out of, but my Greek in-laws freak out and go on and on and on about how she doesn’t eat enough meat. Then, at a party a couple of weeks ago, an uncle happened to comment on how well my daughter was eating. My mother-in-law jumped straight in with “oh no, she doesn’t eat meat, it’s really – ” My daughter chose that moment to grab an entire beef steak off my plate with her bare hands, take a massive bite out of it and say “yum, yum, it’s niiiice.” Brilliant. (And since then she’s eaten pork, beefburgers and chicken souvlaki – patience is the key. I look forward to the day when she tells me she’s going to eat all the corn on the plate!)

  16. I know the joy of your rice moment – our 12yo son has an autistic spectrum disorder, which means that anything new is very difficult for him, so you can imagine our delight when he actually ate a vegetable (lettuce) and asked for more! Oh, the happy dancing that went on in our house that night!

    Keep fighting the good fight; I’ll be doing the same here.

  17. This is cute. When my girls were little, they LOVED the taste of chicken, but didn’t want to even try beef or pork. One night we served pork loin, and because it’s a white meat, one daughter just dove in thinking it was chicken. After a few bites, she said “I really like this chicken!” We didn’t CORRECT her, but we didn’t TELL her it was chicken either. It was a win-win for a while. Until she couldn’t distinguish between the two later on and we had a tough time explaining it. Of course, now she’s a vegetarian…but she doesn’t blame us. Ha ha ha..

    Luckily we NEVER had problems with them eating fruits and veggies of any kind. Looks like your luck is getting better. Hope it stays that way!! Happy eating…

  18. Haha! People are always amazed at the things that my two year old daughter eats. Like you said, if you offer it, eventually they will eat it. We have never made her a seperate “kids meal.” She has always eaten whatever my husband and I are having. Makes for less clean-up and a healthier eater. Win-Win!

    1. I agree. My parents never made a separate meal and we were forced to try one small bite of anything new. Also, we were forced to sit at the table until the one bite of ‘X’ was gone. Even if it meant sleeping at the table!

      On current reflection though, I will try one bite of anything once, and I love veggis, to the point that I don’t really eat that much meat in comparison.

  19. I am not a mum but I am an elder sister when I am left alone with my little sister I make her finish an entire plate without having to fight or shout. In fact, she eats it with a big smile on her face. It’s not the same issue when my mum feeds her though. I don’t know why but I am thinking it just needs patience and getting a little humor into it. So, you might have both.

  20. I understand where you’re coming from. My son’s only vegi is cucumber (which is biologically a fruit). He used to eat blueberries, but won’t touch them now. He went on a two-year hiatus from grapes. Won’t eat corn, carrots, or anything green that isn’t candy. Also, he won’t eat chocolate-flavored anything (except chocolate itself). Only Oreo cookies or sugar cookies (but mostly the icing).
    Oh well!

    Congrats on the new foods! I know how hard that was (my son is almost 6).

    1. Haha- i’m laughing over the ” two year hiatus from grapes”. My younger son will only eat certain shapes of noodles. Doesn’t understand that it’s all made from the same stuff- even after we made homemade pasta!

      1. I have been there. When my son was a toddler, I found a shape that was small (not a choking or chewing issue) and easy to pick up. It was called ditalini. He would not eat ANY other shape for a couple years. You can’t GET ditalini in all parts of the country, by the way.

        Now he’ll eat macaroni (elbows), rotini (including tri-color, does that count as a vegi?), and sometimes penne. No spaghetti. No sauce. Just plain or with Parmesan (which apparently is the BEST topping ever),

        Coincidentally, he WILL suck on lemon wedges from water glasses when we eat out… he’ll also put Parmesan on them.

  21. Great post! I frequently hear “yuck!” “you know I don’t like that” “why did you give me broccoli?” Just this year, my 11-year old has started eating salad greens and broccoli (his veges of choice are capsicums and carrots), and when I said how great it was that he liked them now, he said “I don’t like them. But I know you’re going to keep giving them to me and I might as well just save myself the fuss and eat them anyway.” At last, the triumph of persistence! All my kids have always eaten masses of fruit, so I have worked with that and snuck veges in where I can. My older three now eat many veges, and very widely, although Miss 13 did admit the other day to not liking cabbage. Who can blame her?

    Excellent post, sounds like you’re a great parent, and well done on being Freshly Pressed!

  22. With my wife and me working odd schedules, I was desperate to have my kids eating what I cooked. There were herbs in the salsa I used for their pasta so I turned off the lights and we ate with a candlelight. I made up a story about ancient times and people eating in the darkness. It worked out, they didn’t complain about the green stuff.

  23. Great blog. My granddaughter wouldn’t eat vegieswhen she was little – so we tried mashing potato, pumpkin& a little butter together and called it sunshine because she loved being out in the sun – not vegetables – she loved it. We then slowly started adding other vegies to the mix. She was eating all vegies within 12 months – Pam

  24. I don’t know how I did it but when my now in their 20’s children were young they ate it all green beans done in fresh tomatoes with garlic, okra over rice, spinach in tomato sauce and the pies, things that you would never ever see a kid eat. Even myself I did not start eating these things until after I was married and had a whole new world of food opened up to me. I learned to cook it all and started feeding it to my children at a very young age.
    One rule I always had was you have to try it before you say it’s bad. I would always say yes it does look bad, but it taste oh so good and then put a very small amount on their plates and say try it if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it. Worked every time introducing children at a young age to many different types of food seems to help they ate it all. Japanese, Chinese, Mexican (not just tacos) Italian, French, Arabic. Oh and let them help make it might get a bit messy, but if they can have their hands in the preparation of it makes it kind of fun for them.

    1. Same here! I had to try all kind of food when I was kid and so do my kids now. Sometimes I’m just surprised what they like (and dislike…). But in general they (3 and 1 yrs) they like veggies. Even lettuce, although I think it’s hard to chew for a 1 yearc old, but he loves it 🙂
      Can’t complain!

  25. At three years old my little nephew raised his arms to the sky and sung/shouted, “I love food, I love food, I love food!!!” I was floored for a good 10 minutes. Talk about a hoot.

  26. What’s so bad about rice? I love rice. Well, it’s a staple here in the Philippines so no surprise about that. hihi Congrats!!

      1. I see!! Thanks for enlightening me! I learned something new. BTW, congratulations again! 😀

  27. OH, this is such a delight! Though I don’t have any children of my own, I can surely imagine what this must feel like to hear them have such positive vege-TABLE talks. (— I cannot wait to have little ones sitting at my table!)

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  28. Kids always keep you guessing. I always found I would be successful with introducing a new food if I smothered it in spaghetti sauce…then slowly reduce the amount I would add. Hang in there…they do grow up to be healthy eaters…eventually!
    Thanks for sharing. You Matter! Smiles, Nancy

  29. Hmm.. I never could understand why most kids hate veggies, I guess I was one of those weird kids who liked their veggies, along baked french fries and chicken nuggets 🙂

      1. :p On my first birthday I wouldn’t eat my cake until my grandma shoved my hand in the cake then my face in my hand :p Also never really cared for much sweets when I was little, and still don’t.

  30. Oh, my one year old absolutely loves rice! When I serve it on the table, he would have this look of glee on his face and would start grabbing me. It’s funny. But then again, I am a rice eating mom’ster myself. 🙂

  31. Rice is a staple diet in South Asia, so that has never been a problem here. My siblings and I used to hate beetroot growing up. My mother solved that problem with my nieces and nephews by calling beetroot “the food that turns your mouth red”. My nieces and nephews fall over each trying to get to it before it finishes every time my Mom makes it.

  32. Hi hi, this made my morning! 😀 Your children sound like a lot of fun. The 5year old that I am looking aftere of is, very fortunatelly, a good vegetable eater. However, when it comes to soups and stews we need the grandpa to assure that the little magic fairy is watching all the time and if she eats it tonight and in the morning there may be a suprise left at some place. The excitment with which the soup is eated then make me laugh long after! 😀 and the fairy does come – with a candy in a jacket pocket or under the pillow… 🙂
    Lovelly post!

    http://www.dressupforme.wordpress.com

  33. My little one looooooves his veggies. He screams for tomatoes and just yesterday, he surprised me with eating broccoli. He calls it trees, but then again, he’s two.
    🙂

  34. This is just great! I can recall many cute conversations with my son, and most of them being about food as well. I guess no matter what our age, food really seems to be our great conversation starter.

  35. I’ve done a lot of pacing in my kitchen. A lot of “I can’t bear to watch.” And a lot of wanting to throw the darn plate at the wall. But I trudge on. Thankfully both of my kids actually love fruit. My son loves veggies. It’s the other stuff, like a meal, that I’ve always had a hard time getting them to eat. Do you know how hard it is to go on vacations and plan meals around kids who don’t eat bread or pasta or rice? Whew. Baby steps! They do now, but it was tricky. Congrats on FP! And on the rice. 😉

    1. Totally feel your pain about traveling! One of my goals is to get them to a place where there is something they like in every situation: a BBQ, dinner at a Chinese restaurant, brunch, thanksgiving, etc. I know it might take a while, but luckily I have lots of time!

  36. We learned the “No Thank You Portion” at camp and used it successfully for both kids. A small spoonful of whatever is a must eat, then if they like it, they can have more. I guess it worked, both grown adults are lovers of veggies with one now a vegetarian! Congrats on FP!

  37. That’s funny. Every night sounds almost the same at my dinner table…
    Sadie..”Mmhhh, mom I love carrots.”
    Savannah…”Ew, mom you know I hate carrots.”
    Sydney…silence as she throws her carrots.

  38. My son’s Dr. would always say that he will eat when he’s hungry and not to fix him special meals just to get him to eat. Kids are more likely to eat what’s served if the adults eat what’s served too. Unfortunately my husband is an insanely picky eater which set a really poor example for my son. My son learned that if Dad whined and cried for an alternative dish that he could too. So my 21 year old son will only eat what he wants when he wants to eat it rather than sitting down to a family meal and eating what’s served.

  39. Oh, my kids eat about everything and it is because I never gave them “kid food.” When I breast fed I ate everything, spicy too! We just didn’t call salmon fish but instead “pink nuggets” and we ate asparagus like french fries and we now have three great eaters. Congrats! I am sure having the kids eating what you eat and enjoy it is so much easier, and healthier! 🙂

  40. Good job you for helping them discover new foods! That’s what my mum always did. “Just try it” and I developed a love for all sorts of things I wasn’t quite sure of to start. Like: mushrooms, cheese sauce on broccoli {bechamel with cheddar in it, yum!} olives and all sorts of things like that. Thank you to Mum for making us try new foods out and learning to love all the yummy things out there!

    http://dyefeltsool.com/

  41. so funny! when my 34-year-old (gasp!!) was two, the rule was that you had to take one bite of whatever was on the plate, and if you said you didn’t like it before even tasting it, you had to take two bites. He said, “Oh, I wike it, Mommy. I just don’t want any.” That’s what makes a successful politician – too bad he missed his calling. LOL

  42. This is brilliant! I am fascinated by what kids say. I am an elementary substitute teacher, and I decided in March to start a comic called Mister G Kids using only things that kids say in school. So far, people are really enjoying it, and I think you would too, plus anyone here who thinks your stories are funny! I would love if you would check it out – I promise laughs 🙂 http://mistergkids.com – thank you so much, and thanks for sharing your stories with us. (the first comic you will see about the cat is not real lol, but everything else is! – there’s about 60 or 70 comics on there, all real stuff kids have said to me!)

  43. Kid’s wont like everything no matter how great you make it look or sound but once upon a time my husband was told as a child that Roman soldiers used to carry around grains and dried fruit in a leather bag and that’s where the term Roman meal came from. Ever since he has been a big fan of granola.

  44. My wife is 78 and is still a picky eater. She likes Salmon patties but will not even try fresh Salmon steaks. She loves Chicken as long as it is Kentucky Fried breasts.
    Do your best to convince your kids to try new stuff. White bread as long as it is Wonder Bread. Forget wheat or any other grain bread.

  45. Kids are amazing even when they are just being themselves. Enjoy these years and continue to jot down the funny things they say. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  46. Sounds like you might benefit from being a ninja mom! Pull a ninja mom move by adding veggies in homemade pasta… or in fruit smoothies… etc. They may never know. OR, they may decide they aren’t so bad after all. My daughters love their veggies, but it still can’t hurt to pull a ninja mom move every once in a while. I blogged about my spinach pasta here http://www.cakesbykat.wordpress.com

  47. I’m lucky my two boys aren’t picky, but the other day my 4 year old told me he couldn’t eat his sandwich because his sandwich hurt his feeling. Can’t argue with that…

  48. wow – that’s a lot of posts. But I know why. As a mom of picky eaters its a breakthrough when one agrees and there is that change. I loved the part where you both froze – we’ve had those moments as well. Glad I found you, looking forward to reading previous posts. Thanks!
    Cheri

  49. That’s so funny! I was a really picky eater too. My mom eventually realised that if she deboned all the meat I tended to eat it without complaining. But a whole month once went by where I wouldn’t eat anything but canned dinosaur pasta. Sometimes she got so worried for my nutritional status that she fed me milk mixed with vanilla and an egg. Strangely, I liked that.

  50. this made me laugh, cause when My God kids where younger Is tarted feeding them rice, and now that they can talk they love to ask for it, but the wont eat cucumbers till they say me put it in a sandwhich lol small miracles are still success stories

  51. love baby steps at the table. my baby is 12 now and all of a sudden she is eating grill fish vs fried, she expanded her horizons and now eats my Margarita Pizza not just pepperoni and asks for (seriously) veggies vs noodles, especially when the garden is in swing. God’s little miracle never cease to amaze me.

  52. I didn’t eat a green vegetable until I was twenty… I remember the battles I used to have with my mom about eating vegetables.

    Co-incidentally, My sister (bit older than me) saw these battles and her daughter Ellen eats everything. Because it is put on the table and there is no forcing or not leaving till yoou’ve finished.

    I now eat and have a love of all foods, especially green vegetables; I remember genuinely not liking those foods that I now love. Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms were all once banned from the dinner table. I think your tastes change as you get older.

    Still don’t like – Corn, though (Shudder)

  53. LOL. I’ve had experiences like that with my little girl too. I remember a day she went to the fridge and pulled out a punnet of cherry tomatoes and began eating the lot like there was no tomorrow, stopping to tell me each one was yummy. This was after TWO years of her refusing anything with tomato whatsoever (even sauces and whatnot.)

    The small things that you deem a victory when you’re a parent.

  54. This is so true! I know so many people my age (early 30’s and some in their 20’s still) who say their kids won’t eat anything and insist on prepacked processed foods and won’t eat veggies and other healthy foods because they are “so picky” and it’s like well who gave them those options in the first place? If all they had to eat were veggies and the unhealthy foods weren’t even available I think they’d eat the healthy food 😉 what ever happened to when we were kids or goodness forbid when our parents were kids and what was for supper was WHAT was for supper and if you didn’t like it, you didn’t eat. I don’t think I ever heard of kids even dreaming of not liking what was for supper, you just ate! 😉 great post, your kids sound super 🙂

  55. My 10 year old, who thinks anything without sugar in it comics from Satan, asked me to put a couple of slices of tomatoes on his sandwich the other day. And then he actually ate it. I had to sit down for a while. Great advice about putting stuff in front of them consistently for a long stretch of time. They’ll wear down eventually. That’s why I love spinach now. Thanks Mom & Dad.

  56. Nice!! I nannied twins for a while..When I told them that broccoli is a bit like a little tree that develops strong muscles(showed them my flexed biceps), they dug in….The Mom was impressed:-)

  57. I’ve always been quite picky about food, but don’t really remember being problematic! Your kids though, amaze me. I have 2 nieces and they certainly don’t like cucumbers!! :p

  58. Awesome! It is so convenient for parents to hit up the drive through at McDonalds yet then they don’t understand why their kids won’t eat their fruits and veggies! Our bodies/minds have the ability to acquire a taste for healthy foods just as we do for junk food. I always refer back to the days when I started drinking. Did I like beer at first? Didn’t taste very good, but after you had a couple, that all went out the window. Eating healthy can be an enjoyable experience! Acquiring that takes time. Nice post!

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