When it comes to trying new foods, my kids are on opposite extremes.
Carson, 5, will typically try anything and most of the time likes everything, but we need to be prepared for him to literally spit it out directly on the table or floor if he doesn’t like it.
That happened most recently over a quick lunch I threw together consistently of peanut butter and jelly and other items. I didn’t understand what the big deal was with the sandwich because it had never been an issue previously. He then took me over to the fridge and showed me he wanted strawberry jelly instead of grape jelly. While thinking how he had become so sophisticated, I made him one with strawberry jelly so long as he went and picked up the part of the sandwich he spit out on the floor.
Beckett, 7, is so reluctant to try anything new that it often leads to a major battle of wills. That typically results in him shutting down and us threatening to take something away or offering something as a bribe. A recent situation went like this: If you do not at least try this piece of awesome fish, no television all weekend. Another case: If you do not taste this grilled chicken sandwich, you can never have chicken nuggets again.
Fortunately, over time we have been able to introduce new foods to the kids. Slowly but surely we are moving beyond every meal either consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, chicken tenders, pasta, mac n cheese and the like.
Now, instead of getting chicken fingers at a Mexican restaurant, the boys get excited about tacos, rice and beans and guacamole. Instead of looking for kid meals to eat at a seafood restaurant, they both ask if they can get crab cake sandwiches.
The diversity now even extends to certain vegetables, with peas, corn and green beans among their favorites, and most fruits, particularly watermelon, apples and bananas.
Just when I thought we were coming along well with diversifying their diets, I was reminded it’s a fluid situation. A slab of scrapple on a plate for. breakfast is fine with Beckett, but chop it up and put it inside an egg omelet or in some other fashion and we have problems. It’s the fear of the unknown I guess.
In the weekly Ocean City Beach Patrol public safety message in today’s paper, it was mentioned a majority of the lost children on the beach were being watched by their fathers when they went missing.
I get that.
Of course, I am a dad but I will be the second to admit my attention wanes from time to time. Pam would be the first to make that observation and is often nearby to remind me about the job at hand when she sees me slacking a bit when it comes to keeping watchful eyes on my kids.
There is just something different about moms and dads when it comes to kids. There is something innate in moms when it comes to protection and prevention. Mothers seem to have this inherent awareness and ability to see the future when it comes to their children. While dads care and love just as much, we have to often reminded to expect the unexpected.
A daily example involves Carson and my feet. With his vision issues, Carson often trips and falls over my feet. Pam thinks I should be aware of this and move them whenever he’s near. It’s not that I don’t want him not to fall. It’s just that I don’t think about it. To me my feet are 12 inches long and firmly planted on the floor and there’s no reason why he should trip and fall over them multiple times a day. Pam would argue it happens every day so I should just move my feet instead of being constantly surprised.
Another example came at Assateague bayside last weekend. I was in the bay with the boys fooling around on the body boards. I could see Pam motioning and saying something to me. Because I couldn’t hear her and am a guy, I learned later she was telling me to make sure Carson didn’t stand so close to Beckett because she worried the board was going to fly up and hit him in the face when Beckett jumped off. That actually happened twice while we were in the water, for what it’s worth.
There’s probably no place where all of this applies more than on the beach and in the ocean and that brings me back to the beach patrol’s statement that most lost kids get that way when they are with their dad.
Before becoming a parent, I was always astonished at the fact there are hundreds of lost kids calls every year in the summer. How could a parent lose a kid?
After being a father now for more than seven years, I no longer have my doubts. I understand now. I see how it’s possible on a daily basis. For one thing, there are a lot of distractions on the beach and in the ocean to divert even the most responsible dad. Plus, kids are quick, can be sneaky as well as intentionally deceptive, and have a major tendency to wander off without a care in the world.
For the record, I have never lost a kid, but I can easily see how it could happen. I am going to make sure I’m not part of that statistic, however, as I knock on wood.