Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way. His nemesis is Lex Luthor, an evil genius who wants nothing more than to break the Man of Steel.
I fight for peace at lunchtime. My nemesis is an evil genius who apparently wants nothing more than to defy me at every turn and make what little hair I have left go gray.
My 4-year-old, Brody.
Seriously, not a day goes by that there's not some kind of headbutting over who is going to eat what and when. If it were up to Brody, he would live on chocolate milk and Cheez-Its.
On one hand, he doesn't eat much in the way of sweets; he refuses all candy, the only cookies he'll eat are chocolate-chip and he won't try any ice cream or cake. That's not so bad.
But on the other, he won't try fruit, vegetables, any meat that is not a chicken nugget or anything even slightly nutritious.
And it's hard to get him any vitamins, because the usual trick to make kids take their vitamins -- make them more like candy -- doesn't work with him. Our pediatrician suggested Carnation Instant Breakfast, as it's considerably cheaper than Pediasure and other supplements.
So at least that way, he's getting some kind of nutrition, but I still feel like the worst dad ever.
I've read in scores of magazines and books that it takes a bunch of tries before a kid will eat a new food. Having tried that, I can say with confidence that they are full of crap.
The few times I've been able to even get something in his mouth to taste it is when in the course of wrestling with him, part of it accidentally got into his mouth. He puts up a big fuss with many tears, and then is like, "Hey, this tastes kinda good."
We've been able to expand his menu to a whopping four or five different options, none of which I consider winners. But the books also say the main goal is that they eat something.
I've actually made a breakthrough in that now he will say that he's hungry. Yes, I'm expecting that big parenting award any day now.
Of course, he'll say that he's hungry, but he won't tell me what he wants.
Baby steps, I guess.
The other day, he decided that even though he ate his peanut butter sandwich, he wanted something else. I'm trying to encourage him when he actually deigns to eat like we mortals, so I asked him what he wanted.
"Brody, you need to tell me what you want."
"I want something else."
"I gathered that, sport. What 'something else' do you want?"
He said nothing, but inched ever closer to the pantry. Now I knew exactly what he wanted. Cheez-Its.
How did I know? He was conscious.
"I want something else..." Great. Now he's in full-on whining mode. From this point, he'll just repeat the same thing, each time increasing in pitch. If I let him whine long enough, it's only a problem for any dogs in the neighborhood.
Wanting to keep him from going nuclear, I open the pantry door.
"Okay, pal. What do you want?"
"Up on the six."
"Up on the six."
Every now and then, Brody says something that he thinks makes perfect sense. I assumed this was one of those times until I looked at the pantry, starting at the bottom. Son of a...
Sure enough, the Cheez-Its are on the sixth shelf in the pantry.
Well, score one for him.