Like many six year olds, Anna is a very particular eater. She knows what she likes and usually eats the same thing every day:
- Breakfast: A slice of bread with jam, a banana, and orange juice.
- Lunch: Half a ham and cheese sandwich with fruit and strawberry milk.
- Dinner: A hot dog, string cheese, applesauce, and water; followed by a Hostess cake for dessert.
She has her slight and predictable variations. Once in awhile she’ll ask for a PopTart for breakfast or Mac and Cheese for dinner and when we go out to restaurants she eats different things, but even then we know what she’ll order:
- IHOP: Create a Face Pancake.
- Papa’s Pizza: Salad bar.
- El Charro (our favorite Mexican restaurant): Chicken nachos.
- Anywhere else: Mac and cheese.
Otherwise she eats the same food every day. But Wednesday, she decided she was ready for a change.
By coincidence, Julia read Bread and Jam for Frances to her for the first time Wednesday evening. Just like Anna, the title character eats the same thing every day: in Frances’ case, bread and jam at every meal. She refuses different kinds of eggs for breakfast, trades her lunch for bread and jam, and won’t eat what her mom cooks for dinner. She sings cute little songs about how much she loves bread and jam and how she doesn’t want anything else:
Jam on biscuits, jam on toast
Jam is the thing that I like most
Jam is sticky, jam is sweet
Jam is tasty, jam’s a treat—
Raspberry, Strawberry, gooseberry, I’m very
FOND . . . OF . . . JAM
Then she gets sick of it. One evening she sits down to dinner. Everyone has spaghetti and meatballs but her: she has her usual slice of bread and jar of jam in front of her and she starts to cry. She wants to try new things, so her mom gives her some spaghetti and the next day Frances brings a different lunch to school.
Anna didn’t cry, she just said she wanted to try new things. In her case, hot lunch at school. We got her lunch code at the beginning of the school year but tossed it since she had no interest in hot lunches. We get the cafeteria menu each month but toss it too. Why should we hang on to it? Anna doesn’t want hot lunch; she’s happy with ham and cheese. Not anymore.
So as we’re walking down the steps to the car yesterday morning I said:
“No more ham and cheese for Anna?”
She giggled. “No. It’s good to try new things.”
I stopped by the office after I dropped her off and picked up her code and a copy of the lunch menu. We’ve decided that she’s going to try hot lunch two days a week for now—allowing her to pick which days based on the menu—and see how it goes.
Today she’s having a fruit and yogurt parfait with graham crackers, and then next week she’ll try the oven roasted chicken nuggets or maybe the french toast sticks.
No more bread and jam for Anna—not everyday, anyway. She’s got a new song:
What I am is tired of jam
What I am is tired of ham
Bread and jam
Ham and cheese
I want something different please
It’s good to try new things.