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Spaghetti Race and other games to get kids to effin' eat

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

My 4-year old is getting tougher to feed these days. He could live on a few morsels and refuse to eat. A meal would take forever to finish too. Not tonight though. My parmesan, mackarel, tomato and pesto pasta was a hit with the boys. My makeshift recipe was pretty good, I must say, but the real reason was we found pasta shaped like planes, trains, motorcycles, and cars. And the meal-tertainment it inspired.

I told the boys we are going to have a race. Every spoonful was a race and their mouths were the finish line. My 6 year old who eats in sloth-slow-motion ate so fast! But when the older bro finished his plate, the younger one lost interest and walked away from the table. I gotta think quick! I lured him back with a song... "Tranzzzz...formerzzz robots in disguise guise guise...." I told him the robots are fighting in his belly and they're losing the battle so they needed more troops (another spoonful). Surprisingly, this tactic worked so well he finished his whole heaping plate.

Pasta is a good way to get my kids to eat fish. Or any ingredient, for that matter. I can probably hide crushed meds in a spoonful of pasta and they'd eat it. I got this trick from my mom. She would put tuna and veggies in tomato sauce to boost its nutrition. My cousin, who swore he never liked fish, kept coming back for more. The trick to make it taste like meat sauce is to stir fry garlic or onion or both first. Then add your shredded fish of choice. Then pour tomato sauce, herbs, and cheese.

I tried milking this tactic until bedtime. The 4 year old dislikes drinking milk, and he dislikes chocolate milk even more. The other one likes chocolate milk an I made a mistake of adding a bit of chocolate in both cups (oops) and he detected it. With a straight face, I claimed it's a special formula to feed the robots in his belly. He reasoned robots don't eat. (Gosh this boy is my karma.) Well, I peeked in his belly button and "saw" the robots running out of fuel, they needed that special fuel! Drink up Hurry! (That got me only 2 sips. Dang.)

I was running out of patience. I said I'm going to start counting. "Mama don't count!" He knew there will be repercussions if I finish counting. *Breathe in breathe out* Reboot. I turned to the brother, "You know, your bro can do magic. He can make milk disappear!" We closed our eyes and chanted abra cadabra hocus pocus, When we opened our eyes, the milk is gone!

Motherhood is a daily exercise of creativity. I guess that's why they call it "Mother of Invention".

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