“If you never try, you’ll never know.”– Anonymous
“Try it, you’ll like it!”– Yo, Gabba Gabba! via Nick Jr.
Mad props to Yo, Gabba Gabba! We first heard the little jingle,”Try it, you’ll like it!” from our friends on Nick Jr., and it’s the reason we’ve managed to get the children to eat something semi-nutritious once in a while. I mean one does get sick of the constant challenges when introducing kids to foods other than mac n’ cheese, pizza, ramen noodles, chicken nuggets, and the like. It’s exhausting.
My kids are natural born “snackers” rather than children who sit down and have a meal with all of the recommended food groups and servings. I guess they’ve picked that up from me, which is quasi-healthy but not so impressive when school’s in session. At the end of a school day, I pick up cranky, starving children because they dilly-dallied around during lunch and didn’t get to eat all of it – or like any of it.
We adopted this phrase because I think it’s solid advice in a multitude of situations and at any age. Our older two girls use this phrase for almost everything to this day because they’ve broadened their horizons and realized I’m not completely full of shit.
My girls also know I’m pretty lax with most regular parents rules, you know like no singing at the table, chew with your mouth closed and definitely don’t talk while eating for christ’s sake. Yet, I also have some common firm rules that I never back down from, and with good reason. I’m going to keep that secret to myself though, thanks.
Example: my parents always said no singing at the dinner table and I changed that real quick. Our house doesn’t pay attention to that rule one bit because we are natural born singers. And dancers. More like the entertainment. We move when we feel the urge, but when it comes to trying something new that is one rule I don’t let go of, and it’s simple really.
Note: I’m no “health nut” by any means, and my grandma would shit if she saw what I feed my children on the daily. Sure – smothering green beans, brussel sprouts, peppers, and other veggies, with cheese, salt, pepper, and/or butter must defeat the purpose, but it’s both healthy and not so much. Win-win. Not the best habit but whatareyagonnado? A vegetable is a vegetable either way.
If you try it and don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. But how in the hell are you ever going to know if you like something or not if you don’t try it first?
Now, depending on his mood, Jax is a hit or miss. Sadie will push your hand away and overly-politely say,
Stubborn little shit sticks to her guns, too.
One night we had fresh green beans, which were naturally loaded with Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Delish I know, but green is green, and the son wouldn’t have it. Jax our then 5-year-old, wrinkled his face and said,
“No thanks, I’ve tried them before and I don’t like them.”
“Oh? You’ve, you’ve tried *fresh* green beans before, huh?” Surprised by his lie, I asked, “Where?”
See, I’m a mom – I know stuff. And I knew for certain that I hadn’t ever served him fresh green beans before. Canned, yes; fresh, not yet.
The lack of confidence in his voice assured me that was indeed a lie, but before I demanded the truth, Keely called him out. Atta girl.
“Nu-uh! You NEVER eat your green beans at school! I dump your tray when you’re done every day soooo…try not to lie!”
I gasped, and Jax blurted out,
“Sorry, sorry, sorry – okay, it wasn’t at school…I was just kiddin’ but I have tried them.’”
Keely rolled her eyes and shot him a look, then proceeded to inhale her beans, and (with a full mouth, of course) she yelled,
“Green bean team, REPRESENT.”
While I grew up, family dinners at my grandparents’ house meant a full house as they had seven kids (obvs catholic). My grandpa loved green beans, and even though he was far from being a mean old grandpa, when he spoke you listened. He always said if you finish every green bean on your plate, you’re on the green bean team. As I’ve always been a team player, I used to choke those sons of bitches down and do a little dance in front of my brothers, claiming a spot on the team. Grandpa’s team.
Just Try It
Shocking the shit out of my son, I reminded him of the first episode we saw of Yo Gabba, Gabba – his fave show.
“Hey, Jax…try it, you’ll like it.”
His eyes lit up for a second, but when he looked back down at his green beans, he wasn’t that excited.
“If you try it and you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. But you have to try it. You’ll never know if you really don’t like something unless you try it first.”
“Just one bite, right?”
He was overly cautious, apparently I was a liar.
I nodded my head and silently prayed but prepared for repercussions. Jax reluctantly ate one single bean and at first, I saw the “eww” face, but as the flavor sank in, he looked surprised and kept chewing.
“MOM! I tried it… and NOW I LIKE IT!”
“YAY YOU! High-five!”
Note: It’s good to make a big deal about this.
“See?? Now you know you like green beans! AND you’ve made the green bean team – woot, woot!”
Trying new things can be scary for anyone but, if you never try, you’ll never know. Of course, then we have the catch…
My parents are strict enforcers of Sunday family dinners and with my mom’s cooking, there are good dinners and then there are god-awful dinners. One Sunday, mom’s lasagna looked absolutely delicious with a fresh veggie-loaded salad and soft, warm breadsticks. But looks are deceiving my friends. After I had loaded the children’s plates, I piled salad on mine sadly skipping the lasagna. I fucking love lasagna, but my mom’s onion-laced shit is disgusting. My dad loves onions and I loathe them. I grew up fighting for onion-free meals, but I never won despite protest after protest. Too many ruined meals, but dad was happy and that’s what mattered.
Jax looked at my plate, super confused.
“Mom, where’s your lasagna? And why you got all that lettuce?”
“Well bud, grandma’s lasagna has onions in it, and I …well, I really don’t like onions.”
I’m sure my mother did this on purpose.
Without skipping a beat, Jax repeats,
“Mom… try it…you’ll like it.”
The laughter at the table pissed me off a little too much, but I kept my cool.
Even though I felt my gag reflex preparing itself, I had to take one for the team because of my big fat mouth. I picked out the smallest bite he’d allow, while he cheered me on with DJ Lance’s song. First bite I felt the crunch of those fucking onions and it took everything I had not to spew chunks all over my mother’s table.
I stifled my gag reflex, choked it down and quickly grabbed my glass of water. I wanted to go rinse my mouth out and brush my teeth.
Clearing my throat, I said,
“You know what buddy? I tried it and I don’t like it. Grandma’s lasagna just isn’t for me.”
He acknowledged my effort and his little hand found my shoulder.
“It’s OK mom, you tried it…but you didn’t like it. So now you know.”
He looked proud but still a little disappointed. In his matter of fact tone, he cocked his tiny head to the side and added,
“You don’t have to eat it. I understand.”
“Heirlooms we don’t have in our family. But stories we’ve got.”
-Rose Cherin, (2008)