I try not to take it as a personal reflection on my culinary skills when the girls take one look at the plate I've placed before them and say "We want to go to bed now, mom."
We're at that period in our lives when -- unless I'm serving hot dogs and macaroni and cheese -- dinnertime is a constant battle.
I would have never anticipated that it could take 46 minutes to down four bites of crinkle-cut carrots.
Sometimes, it's cute. Nikki will eat broccoli because she thinks the stalks are "little trees." I actually caught her stealing Katie's at one point. Katie didn't complain.
The biggest frustration is trying to get them to taste something new that you know they'll like. And let me tell you, Katie has jaws of steel when it comes to refusing food.
I actually stabbed her in the lip with the fork trying to get her to open up.
No, it wasn't on purpose.
When they finally lost the battle (and it was a close one) about eating the chicken and cauliflower casserole, they actually liked it and ended up cleaning their plates.
But is that an experience they learned from? Of course not. The very next night, we had the same argument.
And it's not as if they're just not hungry. Katie actually has asked for a snack while sitting at the dinner table staring at a plate of beef stroganoff.
It's bad enough that they've relegated me to waitress anyway. Between drink orders and "make (fill in the blank) bite sized," demands, there's a lot of dinnertime running around.
Don't forget that Katie likes water and Nikki likes juice. Katie still covers her mouth and giggles about the time I gave her Nikki's juice and gave Nikki Katie's water.
One of the main problems is that, unless it's butter-soaked corn or bacon-infused green beans, the girls can't stand vegetables.
It makes it even more difficult when I'm the only person who demands they eat them. Katie doesn't even give it a chance -- the minute she sees green she starts the protest.
Hence the casserole idea -- that the vegetables are hidden in sauce, noodles or cheese is the beauty of the casserole.
Of course, that's assuming that I don't have to sit on them and smear it on their tongues just to get them to try it.
Hmmm ... is that legal?
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.