Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bananas for Bento

Okay, anyone who knows our family will know that our boy has struggled with food textures for a long time. He's also crafty, cagey, and conniving when it comes to eating. He loves food, but strategizes at every turn to make eating take less effort. He doesn't want to bother with the tiresome chore of chewing so he gags on just about everything. Strangely, he does like crunching (potato chips!) and seems to be able to manage raisins just fine. Yet, he will hold his spoon limply, gaze up at me and say, "Feed me please, mommy." Meanwhile, his little fingers reach towards a car he snuck to the table. Oh, it's been quite a party.

A rogue blueberry causes my son to retch like a cat with a hairball. A piece of potato, not smoothed to his liking, may result in a table covered in vomit. Oh yes! But place a piece of chocolate in his hand, and all texture issues vanish as his mandibles churn the morsel to a digestible paste in no time flat. And the chocolate. It must be from Cooke's Fine Foods. No cheap chocolate for this boy. I made the mistake of giving him a piece of chocolate from the grocery store. He bit it, held it up, and said, "I want the chocolate from downtown." In other words, he wanted the five dollar chocolate bar (with maple sugar crystals) I bought myself once as a treat. He's a culinary tyrant.

Anyway, my husband and I saw this bento box at Rainbow Foods in Ottawa. There's nothing like buying something to make parents feel like they've gained control of a situation. So, after seeing an article in Mothering Magazine about Bento boxes, I convinced a scowling Mike to spend the $20. I must admit that I didn't think it would change anything. But it has! His Highness seems to like the way it compartmentalizes his food and with the help of our caregiver, he's eating many more textures. Consumerism triumphs again. At least it's a company started by moms. It's called "Laptop Lunches." www.obentec.com

So...I kind of enjoy making his lunch now. Tonight, I used my little cookie cutters (that are great for making gluten-free animal cookies) and cut his cheese into animal shapes. There's a lidded section for his soup and then I can top it off with granola bar, raisins, and crackers. Some of you may think I have too much time on my hands. I don't. That's the problem. Bills go unpaid, dishes unwashed, laundry unlaundered, but my son has hippopatamus-shaped cheese. I've never been good at prioritizing. But golly, I have fun.

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