Regardless of how many times experienced parents tell me something I don't want to hear and it comes true, I never ever ever learn. I've been told by many parents of the horrors of toddler eating (lack of eating?). I remember my son being a baby and an amazing vegetable eater and being so pleased, smug really, that I had such a good eater. And he was a great eater....as a baby. They are not joking about the terrible twos! there can be so many levels of terrible! Even now, as a three year old, bargaining to eat veggies is sadly in the regular repertoire of parenting tricks.
Two major things seem to help my son eat veggies:
1) Helping to cook the meals.
2) Growing the veggies.
His first vegetable eaten after a particularly long and stubborn fresh vegetable fast last summer was a sungold cherry tomato plucked off the bush at our summer CSA. How he had managed to resist those warm orange globes of sweet and tangy juice the first few weeks of harvest, I will never know, but watching him pluck another and another and pop them into his mouth made me happy we had chosen to do a CSA despite our crazy year.
This year, I have been waiting for seed starting season since the first seed catalogs came in January. Though the vegetable garden will not be our main priority this year, I have big plans. Dreaming big is never a problem of mine.
Seed starting is more of a mental prep for the gardening season. I don't yet have grow lights, and I have a baby tearing through the house, including the room with the best light. I will be surprised if half of our seeds make it out to the garden. But there is something magical about watching that tiny sprout push its two tender leaves through the soil. And starting seeds, explaining what we are growing and what we will use them for is part of the process that connects our three year old with the food we serve. Now that we're figured out healthy food processes with him, our eleven month old is getting to the stage of refusing veggies. And so it begins. Again.