Dining with My Daughter
I still vividly remember those few months when my culinary repertoire was limited to mashed veggies, yogurt and oatmeal with cut bananas. And those sessions of pure frustration of trying to get my fussy daughter to eat just even a spoonful of mashed pumpkin remain in my mind like it was yesterday. So, I was elated, to say the least, when my daughter was old enough to sit at the table and enjoy eating meals with me.
But then I found myself faced with a new challenge; encouraging my daughter to eat by herself and helping her discover the joy of eating. I tried making healthy and nutritional menus, and plating her food with appetizing appeal, but it became clear to me that some extra help was needed to make our meal time at the table together more pleasant and less stressful.
So, in place of her usual white ceramic plates with flowers and her metal spoon, I decided to get my daughter her own lacquerware plate set decorated with rabbits, her favorite animal. Looking back, I think I made this change not only for my daughter but also for myself. For some reason, nice tableware gave me that extra boost to continue to make healthy, home-prepared meals for my daughter and made it easier to cook for her.
I first started with using the small bowl and fork (like a spoon) for yogurt in the morning. When I served the yogurt, her words were, "A pink rabbit?" Maybe it was because the rabbit on the small bowl was hidden by the yogurt, but her immediate favorite seemed to be the fork and repeated, "The rabbit on the fork is pink! It's pink!" The fork was a bit larger and rounder than the one she usually used, but the size turned out to be just right.
With the large and flat bottom, the bowl was very stable and the curved sides made it easier for her to scoop the yogurt and diced fruit. This small bowl is the easiest to use and is a frequent guest at our table.
For lunch, I served rice in the small bowl and my daughter's favorite Japanese Hamburg steak on the divided plate. The divided plate was great for checking to see how much she actually ate or didn't eat. It also gave us the opportunity to talk about different foods, colors and flavors (my daughter mentioned she wasn't a big fan of cherry tomatoes).
Of course, my 5-year-old daughter doesn't understand that she is eating from a plate made from natural wood that keeps her food at just the right temperature and that these lacquerware plates are something she can keep until she has her own children.
But I do.
And these are the things I want my daughter to have and to know when she's old enough to understand. In the years to come, these plates will remind me of the meals we shared together, even of those moments when I may not have been the most patient of mothers. Everlasting memories will remain dear in my heart and hopefully in my daughter's as well.