My mother has been begging me to have Sam try tater tots (and hot dogs) for ... hmmm ... ever since he started eating solids at five months. The kid just does not like potatoes in any form, but potato tots are totally different! Although, I can see how anti-potato feelings could be rooted in texture. But I finally relent when I am in Whole Foods - that's right! getting my caraway seeds! You remember! - and get the organic, no preservatives (or only ones I can pronounce) tater tots.
I heat them in the toaster oven until GBD (golden-brown and delicious), and serve, cut in half, alongside his salmon patty. Maybe it was chicken nuggets - that would have been much more apropos. He takes one bite, chews once, and spits the thing out in disgust, quickly grabbing his protein to get the taste out of his mouth. Yeah. Sorry, Nana, no tots. But I leave one on his plate, just in case. What do I do with the others, you ask? I devour them, that's what! Of course, Sam goes and eats the one I left on his plate, right? AFTER I ate the others - with ketchup. So I think, He does like them. I am a sorry old hag for eating my son's tater tots. The next night I prepare more for him to make up for my trespasses. This time, he not only spits out the first and second bites, but he also tries to get them all off of his plate because they are so very offensive to his palate that he doesn't even want them in his presence. Ug.
Now, when you prepare meals for a toddler - and stop me if you've heard this before - you have to be prepared, emotionally and ecumenically, to either eat or throw out that which is summarily rejected. I find that the more time and effort I pour into Sam's meals, the more I am connected to this piece of art on a funny little plate that has pictures in its four wee chambers separated so that the food never mingles. And if it is rejected - Lo! Beware! I believe I already told you about the macaroni and cheese that I made from scratch and had to throw out because it sucked and I couldn't pass it off on Sam. As I scraped it into the trash, I cried. Really. But there are those singular times when you "make" something, like breaded tilapia and tater tots, and you almost will your child not to eat it. Oh, don't look at me like that! You know, you're sitting there at 5:30, you're starving and you just can't bring yourself to cut up some carrots and celery (because those are the only acceptable snacks for adults when the hour is past 3pm). You're looking at this toddler eating a a glacial pace and you're taking in the sight and smell of the GBD tater tot and the crunchy edge of the fish stick. You think, Hm. He had a big lunch, he probably isn't that hungry. If the poor kid pauses for too long, you are too happy to wipe his hands and send him to play before bath time while you greedily snarf the remaining food because you can't let it go to waste, can you?
I am going nowhere near hot dogs any time soon.