Sticky Rice

When we lived in Hawaii, every Friday was sushi night. Either takeout from the local place, conveyor belt style, or we drove up to the North Shore to have it at Banzai Sushi in Haleiwa. Maggie, to my knowledge, never had anything more exciting than plain sticky rice and miso. Once we moved here she got excited thanks to a picture book about sushi we found in a bargain bin somewhere in Boston.

I have no idea how to get kids to eat. Truly, I have no idea how to get kids to do much of anything. When my kids really dig their heels in I sort of look at them impotently and either shrug or mentally scream, depending on my mood. Somehow, possibly despite or possibly because of my lazy approach to bending wee wills, the girls are well-behaved and pleasant company–parental bias aside, we keep getting asked back to people’s homes so I assume they find our children at least tolerable. Dinners out are particularly nice, as Maggie will eat a wide range of food and Moira will do whatever Maggie does. It’s not hard finding them menu items.

Last weekend we decided to take an impromptu trip to Cambridge, which is about three hours away and near several RAF-Air Force based so there would be cheap lodging. Why not?!

We hit every single road closure, construction site, accident, and diversion in between here and Cambridge. What had begun as a three-hour drive during afternoon nap time became a nine hour odyssey with two small children, an ever-dwindling pile of trail mix, an iPad that no longer charges in the car along roads only overseen by sheep…all in a Honda Fit subcompact.

Around hour seven we decided to buy a new car, but before that we realized we needed to feed the kids dinner. There was nothing around, not even a convenience store, so we broke the last standard of our parenting careers and, fearing hunger screams more than fats, swung through the first establishment we found: a McDonald’s, the likes of which Maggie had never previously sampled. She’s had junk food, but this was her final frontier. This was the Star Trek of her processed food life.

We presented Maggie with a chicken nugget Happy Meal, bundled with zoo creatures from Madagascar 3. She sniffed the nugget, and delicately put it back in the tray. In a move that would have made Frasier Crane cheer, she pushed the tray exactly one inch away while wrinkling her nose. “Feed it to the zebra on the box instead?” The fries went totally ignored, unworthy of even a sniff.

This should have been the apex of my hippie/hipster parenting career, but I was just annoyed. Hours to go, bedtime approaching, and they refuse even semi-sustenance?! When I was three I would have thrown my sister under the stroller for a Happy Meal. Not Maggie, and not her worshipful copycat. They each had the apple slices, and refused all else.

Like I said, I have no idea how to make them do anything, so I let it go. Then this happened the next night.


I have no idea. At least we like the same restaurants.