This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You: and it did

Alexander is an only child this week. Jane has gone to camp, so it’s just the three of us. To be perfectly frank, we are not quite a family this week. We are a couple with a kid.

Yesterday I asked Alexander if he’d like sausage, broccoli and rice for dinner. He was very enthusiastic, so I made the dinner. I did use a beef sausage instead of the Italian pork that he typically likes, but I did so knowing that there were breakfast steaks in the refrigerator, and I had an alternate meal in the event that he didn’t like the new food.

He didn’t like the new food.

I offered him the breakfast steaks and he said, “I’m not in the mood for this.”

At this point we require some back story. I cook dinner every night of the week. At noon each day I prep my lunch and our dinner. Every dinner has two greens, a starch and a protein. Every dinner has at least two things on the plate that every member of our family enjoys. If you do not the dinners I prepare, it is absolutely your problem.

When Alexander told us that he didn’t like the sausage and that he wasn’t in the mood for breakfast steak we asked him to eat his rice and broccoli. He said he wanted to, “look in the kitchen for something else.”

The answer was no. The process was long, but Alexander ultimately decided he wasn’t in the mood for broccoli, steak or rice and that he didn’t like sausage.

He went to bed hungry and crying.

Mr. G. and I shook, and fought back tears of our own. We did it for his own good. Family dinners were devolving, and Alexander was manipulating his way into the pantry, eating cereal and fruit. Further, we would eat our dinner while Alexander moaned about the food I’d made, and then when we were done, he would be starting his alternate meal.

It was very unpleasant.

Last night, while shaking and trying to not cry, I put rice down the kitchen sink. I wasn’t thinking straight, and if you don’t cook you might not know that rice absorbs water and expands. Like a sponge.

So I made a little video about how to unclog your kitchen sink… you know… in the unlikely event that you ever put rice down the drain.

Sorry for the mediocre video quality. It’s been that kind of day.

Comments 16

  1. Ok, so I’ll admit it, I had no idea rice shouldn’t go down the disposal. I am not the best in the kitchen. But I am learning…from you! :)

    And what do ya know? Right now my dishwasher is sitting in the middle of my kitchen. Broken. It wasn’t draining. Shite. I bet it was the rice.

  2. Um, I haven’t had a disposal in over 2 years. I had no idea about rice, though I am sure I ran it through a few times. Which shockingly didn’t clog, but corn on the cob and rib bones did.

  3. My family had similar meal time rules, but being good Baptists the rules were much stricter. I was required to eat a serving of everything that was cooked. If I didn’t like something I didn’t have to eat more, but I did have to eat some of everything.

    As we grow older our tastes change, and to day I enjoy beans and yellow squash, two things I truly hated as a child. The meals that featured liver as the protein were always the worst. I recently learned that my mother has the same reaction which is why she always fixed herself something else on liver nights. I never had that option and had to eat liver many times growing up.

    Those dinners were truly torturous. I vividly remember trying to chew the liver and swallow it as quickly as possible because just having it in my mouth would cause me to gag and choke. I learned to chew it quickly and force it down, but even today, right now thinking about it even, I can feel my gag reflex starting to work. It’s almost like when you smell something so rotten that you involuntarily start to gag and nearly vomit. I recently discussed this with someone and nearly threw up just thinking about it.

    I still resent that aspect of my childhood, and I will never force my kids to eat food they don’t like or to go to bed hungry because I insist they eat something they don’t like. I’ve worked since my youngest was able to realize he hates most food to find a way to feed him healthy food, to work with him so that meal times are not fights and are not remembered as a struggle. I don’t think it’s worth it to have my son grow up with this same memory that, in my mid thirties still can effect my so physically.

  4. Yes, rice and sink don’t go well together, but you were all traumatized and stuff so I a little understandable. My favorite is when I am kind enough to offer a couple choices to my younger son and he replies with “is there something else I can have?” To which I reply, “let me get you a menu”- Umm, not really!

  5. I will want updates on how this is working, since I have a similar “picky eater” in my family. I tried the “you must try a bite”, I tried the “it’s just an alternate choice on your plate”, I tried a lot of things, but it always made things REALLY awful at the table, with lots of crying and tantrum-ing — from both my child and me.

    Even though I wish my son would eat what I cook, forcing him to do it made both of our hearts break, so I stopped. I gave up the food part and now I have a more pleasant dinner table. For now, that works for me.

    But I’ll be paying attention to see if your method works…

  6. I never force anyone to eat anything. If I’m making something new, something I’m not sure my family likes I’ll do it on a day when I have leftovers that I KNOW they like.

    The kids and my husband all like different things. If I’m making an arugula salad I know my husband won’t like it, so I make a hot vegetable he does like. Jane isn’t a big chicken eater, so if I’m making chicken then I’ll be sure to have quinoa or lentils as a side dish.

    I promise you Sarah, if you’re starving at my house, it’s because you want to.

  7. My mom and dad always had those rules! Sometimes I went to bed hungry and crying, at the time I disliked them for it. Now I’m thanking then for it!! Someday he’ll thank you too Jessica. It’s always hard to see your children upset :( Good job sticking to your word! Oh and I was never allowed to yuck my food either. I have the same rules with my There are only a few things they will NOT eat.
    Oh and I love that you serve lentils to your family! People look at me like I have to heads when I say “lentils are great!” I make an amazing lentil and sausage soup..mmm!

  8. I can’t believe I actually had the time to watch this. Must be because son #1 is at camp and son #2 is dining in the city with his dad. As far as picky eaters. Never had that problem. Must be because I’m a great cook :)

  9. Jessica, good for you! We have similar mealtime rules at our house. The boys can either choose to eat what I’ve prepared for dinner, or they can choose to wait and eat breakfast the next morning. We “encourage” them to try a bite of everything on their plate, but after that, how much they eat is up to them. I prepare healthy choices, and I try to make sure at least one dish is something they enjoy. After that, the choices they make are their own. I have friends that are positively appalled by my draconian mealtime practice. Some of these same friends have children who will eat only chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cheese, bananas and mac & cheese so they routinely make 2 meals – one for the kids and one for the adults.

    ps – Metamucil does the same thing to a drain, making a long gelatinous snake. Not that I’ve poured expired metamucil down the drain or anything. Ahem.

  10. NO STARCHES in the sink period. We learned that way back in the military. Even worse, if you put draino down when you have a starch backup the mess is horrifying.

    We dont have a disposal now…can you imagine? 2 years without one. Our subdivision drainage cant handle them.


  11. As you can see my kids are full grown and most of the time act normal.
    The rule at our house and hopefully my kids remember is that – this is dinner, if you don’t like it don’t eat but this is all there is – hopefully tomorrow there will be something you will enjoy or you will be a very skinny child – the only picky eater I had was my daughter –

  12. I’m feeling I need to start being more disciplined myself about disciplining her during mealtime. I have a very hard time making her go to bed hungry because she’s only 3 and I’m terrified she’ll wake all of us up at 5am with a growling belly!
    But, no one can really live off quesadillas, no matter how much avocado I stick in there!

    BTW, nice job at unclogging your sink and shooting a vlog all while keeping your sunglasses in place!

  13. I am already having these battles with my two year old, and am trying my best to stick to my guns.
    Always knew about the starches in the drain- not good!
    Your difficult evening, however, has taught us all that we can be plumbers. Way to give back to the Universe.

  14. “If you don’t like it, there’s always cereal and fruit.”

    As soon as I got to the part about rice & your drain, I gasped, thinking, “No, Jessica! You will live to regret that!” but I see that you already have. I’m glad it happened quickly so you could make the cause & effect link. For me, it took sopping smelly water out of my dishwasher with a ShamWow while my garbage disposal shot water straight up out of the sink every time I turned it on before I learned.

    Thankfully my brother was a plumber’s apprentice so it just cost me some beer. His tip: never put leftovers in the disposal, it’s only for scraps. Throw a lemon peel in there every now and then to keep it smelling all nicey nice and a handful of ice cubes once in a while to help keep it clean.

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