Last night I got my notoriously picky eater to eat a real meal! I’m not talking about Dave, although he ate his dinner, too, haha! I made my homemade “chicken tenders” by coating them in shake ‘n’ bake and baking them in the oven. I also made fries and broccoli. I was pretty sure that Leah would only eat the fries.

I cut up a piece of chicken on her plate, put one tiny piece of broccoli on her plate, and said a Hail Mary. Just kidding, I didn’t really pray. Anyway, as is typical, Leah jammed fries into her mouth one by one until they were all gone. Then, she did something amazing. She picked up a bite of chicken on her fork! She looked over at Dave and watched as he dipped his chicken in ketchup.

“Everything’s better with ketchup!” Leah announced.

And with that, she popped the chicken into her mouth. Soon, every bite of poultry was eaten. She even said it good! I could have left it at that and still been happy, but I had to push on.

“Great job, Leah!” I said. “Now just eat your piece of broccoli and you’ll be all done.”

“Nope.” she said. “I don’t like brocc-oli.” (she emphasizes syllables to show she has attitude.)

“You haven’t tried it. You don’t know if you like.” I said. “Besides, you could always dip it in ketchup.”

With that line, I picked up a piece of broccoli and dipped it into my own ketchup.

To my complete surprise, Leah’s defiance turned into laughter. I saw my opening, and jumped in.

“Look, Leah, it’s like eating a tree! Do you want to eat a tree? We could do it together!”

And so we counted, “One…two…TREE!” and popped the ketchup coated veggies into our mouths.

My child wound up eating about three helpings of broccoli. The only downside was that I already eaten my broccoli, and yet I had to eat a bite for every bite she took. But hey, extra veggies won’t kill me! For the first time in Leah’s life she ate an entire, balanced meal.

I am doing a happy dance, and also wondering how I am going to get her to eat tonight’s Italian herb chicken…


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