Camp Night Update.


As I’ve said before, I think parents are obsessed with food. Specifically, it’s kid food that seems to strike a chord. What they eat, what they don’t eat, what to do about it, and why this keeps us up at night. I firmly believe that food is rivaled only by “screen-time” as one of the great dividers among parents.

On that note, I thought I would offer an update on Camp Night, which was invented to try to get John to eat more foods. It’s not that he was eating unhealthy foods before, but we have really been needing a longer list of options. There are only so many ways that I can combine bread or pasta with cheese. (Especially challenging when I’m not eating dairy or gluten.)

Nutshell: it’s going great! New foods are almost uniformly approved and then welcomed into non-Camp Night eating. Marinara sauce, turkey, chicken, pork, peaches, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes are now in regular rotation, along with a long list of other things that would have been scorned in July. We haven’t been having to count bites, either, which feels like a miracle. I do not enjoy the negotiations over bite count.

I credit this success to John thinking that Camp Night was his idea, which I bring up regularly. Feel free to try this approach on your kids, your partners, or your bosses. It’s an excellent strategy in almost any situation.

Here is the real joy: John seems to be growing less suspicious of food in general. Twice in the past week he’s eaten (and finished) new foods when it wasn’t even camp night. He assumes that new things are probably good. As a picky eater myself, I think I had that realization sometime in my early 20s.

To be clear, there have also been some serious misfires. Eating a yellow tomato caused John to burst into tears. Eating a miniscule bite of a cheeseburger seemed to require the same effort that I would put into eating a balut, and he enjoyed it about that much as well. I have learned not to schedule Camp Night on the same night as soccer practice. The combination of hungry and tired doesn’t lead anywhere good.

So we’re learning as we go, but I think it’s been a great project so far. We’re currently practicing for Thanksgiving – working our way through the things that will be on the table then, so that come November, we can all eat a holiday meal together. The same holiday meal. Now that will really be something to be thankful for.

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