Food Wars

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

As with many calls in life, the sacrifices of parenthood bring great rewards. My late husband was a fantastic hands-on dad, but he worked in the oil field so at least half the time I parented on my own.

Thoughts of my babies with their dirty diapers and skinned knees bring a smile to my face. Even sleepless nights and trips to the emergency room add to this beautiful story of life. Children are such resilient little creatures and somehow manage to make it to adulthood even with our lack of experience as young parents. A parenting class can never prepare a new mom or dad for all the unforeseen events in raising a child.

Parenthood demands on the job training for sure! I did read the books and manuals, though, in my attempt to be a good mom. Understanding that vegetables are essential for good health caused me many days and nights of anguish. My daughter just didn’t like vegetables!

I tried the sly approach. The plan was to distract Melinda from her food with elaborate motions and sounds. “Open up for the airplane! There you go,” I said breathing a sigh of relief when she finally loosed her tightly clinched teeth. The green beans I so longed for her to eat slid into her mouth.

The relief I felt in winning this skirmish in the food war was very short lived. As soon as the taste of said green beans registered on her tongue Melinda spewed her food out like a volcanic eruption. The green mush went flying through the air and landed right on my face. While wiping the slimy soup from my eyes and hair my tongue reached up for a little taste. “Yuck! That stuff is terrible, Melinda! No wonder you don’t like it.”

Off to the grocery we went, after discarding the vile green stuff in the garbage can. We perused the baby food isle and placed carrots, peas, and squash in our cart. With youthful enthusiasm I tried again. To my dismay we repeated the same scenario over and over. At my wits end, I finally stumbled across the answer to my problem. It was called “Hawaiian Delight.”

In desperation, I mixed the dessert in with squash. Nowhere in my book did it say I could give my precious baby sweets. Finally, Melinda ate a vegetable even if it was laced with what tasted like a mixture of pineapple and banana pudding.

On the next doctor’s visit, I guiltily discussed this all with the wise older man. The doctor smiled kindly and said, “Give her what she likes; It won’t hurt her. And don’t worry if she doesn’t want to eat; she’ll eat when she’s hungry.”

These words brought relief to my anxious heart. The books never told me to relax and trust God’s design for babies and parents to learn and grow together.

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path” (Prov. 3:6, KJV).

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at