I am trying an experiment: I'm cooking one new thing per week and making the children try it. The experiment came about to try to fix three major issues:
1. I'd like the children by the time they leave home to be physically able to force themselves to eat food they don't like (the "Keep offering it and they'll eat it!" method never did work out for us, but now they're all old enough for the "Eat it anyway" method)
2. Edward's food pickiness may not be worsening his anemia but it isn't helping it either, and we'd like to see if we can find more foods he'll eat
3. I'm so bored cooking dinner, it makes me want to drink
Here are the ways life has been improved by this new way of doing things:
1. It really is kind of interesting (bordering on fun, but I wouldn't want to go quite that far) to cook something new, though "during the worst hour of the day" is perhaps not ideal timing for it
2. It feels good to feel like we're working on the children's food-eating training, even if so far we don't seem to be making any measurable progress and maybe all we're doing is teaching them that trying new things always leads to not liking it
3. Paul thinks he doesn't like any meals except the half dozen he always eats (hm, I wonder where the children get that picky eating, hm hm hm, what a mystery), but as it turns out he really likes the new foods, and he also likes coming home from work to find a dinner ready for him (normally I cook for the kids, and then Paul and I make our own dinners later: eating dinner around the table as a family makes us wish we weren't one)
4. I cook stuff I like, so my dinner is made too
5. Since none of the kids eat the food, I have lots of leftovers for my lunches
Here are the ways life has been unimproved by this new way of doing things:
1. When I spend a couple of hours researching, shopping for, and cooking a new meal, and then the children don't eat it, I feel like laying waste to all the lands
2. The more time I spend doing cooking and cleaning in general, the less happy I feel with my role in life: I start feeling grey and drudgey and like I'm in servitude to an endless cycle of unappreciated work that leads nowhere and results in nothing of any lasting value (I had not been sure which way this one would go: lots of people feel MORE fulfilled and happy when they do more/better cooking/cleaning)
3. It takes about 5 seconds for Paul to start taking cooking/cleaning for granted, I think because those gender roles are so easy to slip into; when I see even the first edges of that happening, I feel like laying waste to all the lands AND I feel less happy with my role in life
4. Because this is new, and because the children normally are allowed to have a snack in the evening if they're hungry, we are dealing with a lot of new-rule explaining, accompanied by whining, forgetting, and fresh shock upon hearing that no, after eating one bite of dinner, you do NOT get to have a snack.
I would say that overall, the costs and benefits of the experiment are about equally matched: I am both happier and less happy. But I can see the long-term effects going either way. If, for example, Paul gets even one single millimeter further on the "Wow, I LIKE having a wife who cooks me a hot dinner and then does all the dishes while I go have free time!" spectrum, that will make a kilometer difference to my drudgery spectrum. One. more. millimeter.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...