I want to talk a little about my step kids. Now that they are older, they make me very proud. Tucker is 12. He is a nice, social, intelligent, good looking boy. Of course he still thinks he knows a lot more than the adults do, but he’s getting better. I still remember what a pain he used to be during meals. I used to get headaches just from thinking of preparing lunch or dinner when he was here. When he was 9, he decided he was a vegetarian, can you believe that! He would come here and wouldn’t eat any meat, only pasta or mashed potato. Of course that was unacceptable. We make the rules here and everyone else follows. Starting with everyone being “normal” (without allergies to zucchini or vegetarian 9 year-olds, he can do those things with his mother). Thus, everyone must try (a decent size bite, no liking the tip of the fork) the dishes served. If they don’t like the food, they don’t have to eat it. However, by not eating properly, they might not get desserts or other treats.
Two trips are forever stored in my mind. One was Easter at Lois’s home. First we went to a Brazilian restaurant with a lot of barbecue meat. Let’s keep in mind that he wasn’t allowed to be a vegetarian when he was with us, but he didn’t have to eat a lot a meat, just one decent piece. Well, after the first place which was carefully served, he went for seconds. He came back with a plate with nothing but steak!! Why the heck is he a vegetarian if he likes meat so much? In this same trip, Lois prepared broccoli with carrots because he said he loved that combination. At lunch he didn’t eat any of his vegetables saying that they were overly cooked for his taste. The veggies were just fine, but his mother was there so it wasn’t my problem anymore. Interesting though that she mentioned, later that same day, that they didn’t have any eating problems and ate everything, including vegetables. Hugh?
The second trip was when they were on their way to visit us in Lancaster in the summer of 2008. I was pregnant with Nicholas during that time. Tucker started on me even before he arrived at home. I was at the grocery store buying fish to grill for dinner and he was talking to me on the phone from his dad’s car asking me what time of fish I was buying. Because they didn’t like fish, well, he didn’t eat this kind and Piper didn’t like that kind… Over the weekend we had that problem with sausages, hamburgers, steaks… he needed to know what type of cheese was being served, he didn’t like chicken, what I seasoned the meat with, what was in the vegetable and salad dressing… On the third day, at a restaurant having breakfast, Tucker says he wants pancakes with this and that topping. Chris says that’s fine but first he needs his eggs (protein). Tucker says in his superior voice, that he doesn’t eat egg. It seemed like he was a stranger to us and had to let us know what he ate and didn’t eat. He forgot this wasn’t his first time with us and that we know very well what he eats and doesn’t eat. He always ate egg!!! I just lost it then and said out loud that that was enough and when he was with us he would act like a normal child without all this BS with food. Either he ate everything from now one (I allowed one exception for protein and one vegetable) or I wouldn’t want him near his younger sister (who ate everything and looked up to him and Piper for role models). After this day he never gave us any more grief with food.
Nowadays he eats properly, without the need to be different. I believe he has noticed that being different doesn’t always mean being better. Just the opposite, a lot of times when a person doesn’t fit in, he is not seen in very good light. However, he still has the need to be the center of attention, as a proper leo that he is.