Daddy, What’s For Dinner?

Child eating and enjoying his food - not dinner

SJ eating and enjoying his food. No, it’s not dinner.

SJ is a big boy.

He has been a big boy since birth. He came into this world at 9 pounds 4 ounces.  He remains in the 90 plus percentile when it comes to weight.

And the boy likes to eat.

However, like most 7-year-olds, he is finicky. Recently, SJ informed Ms. MMK and I that he was no longer eating hot dogs. No, it’s not because he has made the moral choice of going vegan. SJ just felt that he wanted something different.

My wife was not taking this decision lying down.

She told him, “Well then, you need to find something else to add to your list of foods.”

SJ was confused, “Huh?”

“You only eat 7 foods [slight exaggeration – 27 is more like it. You do count bagel and cheese and bread and cheese as two different foods – right? ] and if you are removing one from the list you need to add another one.”

SJ sighed. He continues to eat hot dogs. Uggh, the sacrifices he must make.

Let’s recap what I have shared so far: SJ is a big eater and a particular eater.

Okay, nothing earth shattering. That’s probably the description 88.2% of kids. I just made that number up – sounds like a radio station, perhaps Finicky 88.2 – but I am confident the number is similarly high.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I do the food shopping for my family. Not only that, I do the meal planning.

Actually, my wife handles Wednesdays which is take out day. She also handles Fridays – our Sabbath meal.  It’s the best one of the week – BY FAR! I’ll tell you about that another time.

Anyway, the family looks to me to know what’s for dinner. Now between my repertoire, limited time for preparation, and the boys’ inch wide list of things they are willing to eat, there is little variety.

Now, you would think the excitement of what’s for dinner would not be there.

No, no, no. Daddy, what’s for dinner is the first thing SJ asks me when I see him in the afternoon.

I was on the phone with my wife the other day, and I heard SJ in the background. It was a Wednesday when my wife works from home.

He asked Ms. MMK, “Is that daddy on the phone?”

“Yes, do you want to talk to daddy?”

“I want to know what’s for dinner.”

“I told you what I got for dinner.”


“Hello,” I called out to my wife.


“He doesn’t want to talk to me anymore does he?”

“What can I tell you?”

Asking me what’s for dinner is not a once in a while sort of thing. Before, I have my coat off, SJ asks me, “Daddy, what’s for dinner?”

As we walk out of after care, SJ asks me, “Daddy, what’s for dinner?”

On Sundays after lunch, SJ asks me, “Daddy, What’s for dinner?”

Really? Is that all I’m good for?  I mean if I was Emeril Lagasse maybe I could appreciate this. But what the heck do I make – frozen hot dogs, eggs, mac n cheese, etc.

I do have feelings you know.

I’ve talked to SJ about this. I can get him to offer a “How was your day dad?”  And a “good” to my question of how his day was.

And then SJ is back to, “Daddy, what’s for dinner?”

Oh well, at least he wants to talk.

Poison for All

I reach home before my wife three days a week. On these three days, I make dinner for my family. As I have mentioned before, I am not a cook but a preparer. I can defrost, boil, and throw food into the oven with the best of them. In addition, my use of kitchen utensils ends at the strainer. So, yes, I keep it simple.

My children are particular eaters (I know many of you are shaking your head thinking, “I know just what you mean, buddy”). They have a few foods that they like to eat (luckily, they enjoy fruit) and are content as long as we stick to their tastes. Fortunately, their limited tastes match up with my limited skills. This symbiotic relationship is probably not a coincidence.

Tonight was one of my nights to prepare dinner. I decided to make eggs. Both boys like eggs, and they are always happy to eat them. Before BR went off to karate, I told him we would be having eggs for dinner tonight. He requested I put bacon bits in the eggs. He would put bacon bits in just about every food, so his request was not a surprise. For SJ, however, bacon bits have not secured a place in his limted diet. I had three options: make two helpings – one with bacon bits and one without, deny BR’s request, or take my chance that SJ would adjust. I decided to go with option number three, hoping I could sneak the little red flakes past my fussy eater.

When BR took his plate, he said, “Hey where are the bacon bits?”

“They’re in there. Just don’t tell SJ, or he won’t eat them.”

“Oh yeah, there they are. Okay.”

SJ had taken his plate first. He started with his bagel. With the bagel eaten, he was on to his eggs (why he can’t eat two things at once is beyond me, and I leave it as one of the great unanswered questions). He finished his first bite of eggs while watching Spongebob and said nothing. Bless that yellow sea creature. With his helpful distraction, SJ was becoming flexible.

Then, the serenity was broken. “Hey what are these red things?”

I tried to ignore him.

“What are they?” he repeated.

“It’s nothing. Just eat em.”

“What is it?”

“It’s poison. You have some, BR has some, mom will have some, and I have some.”

And we will all go down together.

“He’s kidding. You’re kidding daddy. Daddy’s kidding.” BR was convinced.

“No, I’m not. Now, just eat. Look, I’m eating.”

A moment passed and SJ informed me, “I don’t like poison.”

Uggh, sigh. I told you my kids were picky.