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How I got my toddler to eat a vegetable
A dad's long con.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. My toddler won’t eat vegetables.
When he first began eating solid foods, he ate everything. We were quick to pat ourselves on the back. Look at us, great parents. You might as well put us in the Hall of Fame.
Over time, reality set in. He became a picky eater, like most kids his age. Still, I wanted him to eat at least try a vegetable. But putting one in his mouth was a non-starter. He didn’t even humor my ass.
Actually, sometimes he would. He’d put his mouth up to a piece of potato and say, “I tried it,” and put it back on his plate.
I was racking my brain for an angle.
Then, one day, we were reading a kids’ book on gardening, and it hit me.
I’d get him a tomato plant.
So, we went to a nursery, and he picked one out.
This was the start of my long con.
I was like Danny from Ocean’s 11 up in here.
I have a small garden with drip irrigation. IE. I don’t have to water my plants every day. But I didn’t want him to just watch something grow. I wanted him to work for it.
So I put the tomato plant in a pot and got him a watering can.
For months, we watered the thing. I kept telling him this was his tomato plant, hoping I was building personal investment. Hoping he’d take pride/interest in eating it.
Months went by, and it was time to test it out. Would he actually put this thing in his mouth? Instead of just dabbing it lightly with his lips and throwing it across the room?
He picked the tomato by himself and seemed excited.
Could this actually work?
Could I be the greatest Dad ever to walk the earth?
I added a little kosher salt and olive oil to sweeten the pot.
(DESPITE MY LAST NAME, I AM ITALIAN, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO REMIND EVERYONE.)
He ate it.
He ate a fucking tomato.
The heavens parted, and I was ready for my induction into the Fatherhood Hall of Fame. Clearly, I had risen through the ranks. This idea, this long con, had worked.
After the initial slice, I offered him another. He ate it but balked at the third.
“That’s okay, Daddy, I’ve had enough.”
I’ll take the win.
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