Yes, folks, this past Tuesday was National Pancake Day. For many of you, this 'holiday' came and went without you even being aware of it's existence. At the Kingsbury's, however, this day was marked with elation and celebration. Especially by one particular family member. Patrick. To say Patrick loves pancakes is like saying Lance Armstrong likes riding his bicycle. If it were left up to Patrick, he would eat pancakes morning, noon and night. Seriously. Every day for breakfast he eats pancakes.
At this point, some of you may be asking yourselves why seemingly responsible parents would permit such an eating habit to be established. Well, the parents are wondering that, too. In all fairness this came about over a long period of time during which the main objective was this: Find something...ANYTHING...that this child will eat.
Patrick started out like any other healthy baby. He nursed like a champ. He started on rice cereal and then finger foods at the appropriate ages. The only thing that could have indicated the battles to come was that unlike every other baby in the free world...Patrick REFUSED to eat Cheerios. I can actually count for you how many Cheerios my son has ingested in his eight years of life. One. Just one Cheerio. And really, technically, we shouldn't even count that one. After a visit to the Pediatrician (not his regular one) we came home armed with determination that we were not going to be manipulated by an 18 month old little person who drooled and walked around in a droopy diaper. Not gonna happen. Yeah, right!! So, following this Dr.'s advice...we sat Patrick in his booster chair and told him firmly that he needed to eat some Cheerios before he ate his lunch. It went like this:(Mommy) "Patrick, just eat some Cheerios for Mommy". (Patrick, vigorously shaking his head) "Noooo" (Mommy) "Come on, Buddy...just try one" (Patrick, still shaking his head) "Nooo"! It went on like this for some time until Patrick finally fell asleep in his chair.
(We decided that the Dr. was a complete wacko and never went to see him again!) David was so frustrated with the situation that he put a Cheerio in Patrick's open mouth while he was sleeping and took a picture. "There", he said. "Looks like he ate it to me". So, you see, we can't really claim that he ate the Cheerio but beleaguered parents will take what they can get, won't they?
At about 13 months old Patrick ate pretty much everything we put in front of him. (Except Cheerios, obviously). Then one fateful day I got it in my head to feed him some oatmeal flavored with maple syrup. And he loved it. Even asked for a second bowl. And then asked for oatmeal for dinner. "Great!" I was thinking. "He loves oatmeal". "I'm such a good mommy". But then Patrick refused to eat anything but oatmeal the next morning. And the next day. Aside from a few vegetable baby foods, my child would literally eat NOTHING but oatmeal for the next 6 months of his life. (At least he was 'regular'!) Then one morning I was making pancakes and bacon and Patrick said the words that are music to the ears of every mother of a picky eater. "Some of that, Mommy?"
I gave him the pancakes and bacon and he loved it. And wouldn't you know, he has never eaten oatmeal since that day! But he has eaten pancakes. A lot of pancakes. We have grown creative and add a lot of secret ingredients to his pancakes which include, but are not limited to, oats, wheat germ, milled flax seed, and granola.
These days Patrick's repertoire of foods has increased to grilled cheese, broccoli, Dino chicken, yogurt, apple slices, an occasional banana and various meats and cheese pizza. This may not seem like much variety but we are very satisfied with his (slow) progress. I remember being judgemental of a friend who fed her toddler fish sticks and ketchup exclusively. (This was before I had kids of my own). I would say "I'll bet if she didn't have the option to eat those fish sticks she'd get hungry enough to eat something else!" I have since called and sincerely apologized to my friend and begged her forgiveness. Having a picky eater has humbled me and revealed that I have NO BUSINESS judging other parents or thinking I have all the right answers. Because for the most part we are all doing the best that we can with what we are dealt with. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
Which is why I took my son to Cracker Barrel on Tuesday to celebrate National Pancake Day. We had a wonderful time playing checkers in front of the fire. Patrick knows that eating pancakes every day is pretty quirky. He also knows that his mother loves him anyway and embraces his quirkiness along with all of his finer points.
By the way, to my knowledge there is no National Cheerio Day.