What’s For Dinner?

The proof of the pudding is the eating.  ~Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


Kyle & his cousin Cheyenne Piper at Bethel Lutheran Church. 2005

Ever since Kyle was a little tyke, he’s been very structured, eventually including his eating habits.  Truly.  It could be ten o’clock at night and he’d sit back in retrospect asking, “What was for dinner?”  Usually I ask, “Are you hungry?”  With Kyle’s response of, “No, but I wanted to know what was for dinner?”  Seriously?  Oh, yes!  Like he’s taking a tally or checking of his daily list.  He’ll even reiterate what he ate and what category it was considered, either breakfast, dinner, supper, or snack.  Kyle can’t simply eat when he’s hungry and leave it at that, he has to place it in a mental check box.

On a side note, in our household, we call “lunch”, dinner.  So what do we call dinner or the last meal of the day?  Supper.  Yes, dinner is our midday meal, or commonly called lunch, and supper is our later day meal, or sometimes called dinner.

Anyway, when conversing with Kyle over his meals for the day, a big WARNING needs to accompany this discussion.  If you try and assist Kyle recollect his food consumption for that particular day, and you categorize a food item as part of the wrong meal, or worse, call out an item eaten from the previous day, he’ll call you out on it and make a big deal about his supposedly missed meal, even when he’s not hungry.

Example time.  Now I can’t exactly recall a specific conversation between us, but they basically go like this:


Me making cupcakes in my apartment in Pittsburgh (Beechview on Broadway Street) 1995

Stage:  (It’s 10:00 pm on a Saturday night and Kyle is laying on the couch watching television, winding down before bed.)
Kyle:  Aunt Heather what was for dinner?
Me:  (Not thinking to hard on the question)  I don’t know, are you hungry?
Kyle:  No, I just wanted to know what we had for dinner.
Me:  I don’t know, steak and eggs.
Kyle:  No that was breakfast.
Me:  Oh, we had grilled chicken and potatoes.
Kyle:  No, that was for supper.
Me: (Getting frustrated over a pointless conversation.)  I don’t know!  Are you hungry?
Kyle:  No, I just wanted to know.
Me:  If you’re not hungry does it matter?
Kyle:  No
Me:  (LIGHT BULB!)  Oh, we had sandwiches!  (Now feeling pleased with myself for finally remembering.)
Kyle:  Oh, yeah that’s right!
Me:  Now do you want me to review all your snacks including the quart of chocolate milk you drank in one gulp?  (Sarcasm and silliness, for I truly don’t care what Kyle eats or how much, as long as the majority of his consumption is healthy, and in moderation for the not-so-nutritious food items.  Please note, the remark about the chocolate milk was not an exaggeration.  He really does fill up a quart jar with milk and chocolate syrup, and gulp it down instantly.  I guess he’s a growing boy.)
Kyle:  (snickering) No.  But what was for dessert?
Me:  I saw you eating Oreos earlier.
Kyle:  Yeah, but that wasn’t dessert for supper.
Me:  You don’t have to have a dessert for every meal.  Desserts are only for special occasions, or as a rare treat, not for everyday.
Kyle:  Why not?  I like desserts!
Me:  I do too buddy, but it’s not good to have all that sugar and fat.
Kyle:  I like sugar.
Me:  I know!  Same as your dad!
Kyle:  (Snicker, before he heads off to bed, satisfied that his checklist is completed.)


In the back row: Dad, Uncle Sonny & Jeremy. Uncle Denny’s back is on the left & Nicole on the right. Christmas Party 1992

Perhaps this strange and sporadic phenomenon is partially my fault.  When Kyle was little, I became aware that when he wasn’t with my family, he’d miss meals or the sustenance eaten was less than par, not healthy in the slightest.  So I began to teach Kyle to eat at least three meals a day, and snack healthy in between.  That’s about the time I taught him about nutrition.  I especially stressed the importance of breakfast, which was completely omitted from his diet before school.  Or worse, he’d eat his jelly sandwich and crackers on the bus headed to school because he was hungry, and then have to go without for the entire day.  It broke my heart to think of Kyle sitting in the cafeteria with his friends, watching them eat their lunches, while he was hungry.  I’m not saying a jelly sandwich (at the time he hated peanut butter, so that was his PB&J minus the P) is the most nutritious for breakfast, but it’s something.

Naturally, there’s always an excuse, but with a five, six, seven, eight, nine and even a ten year old, there doesn’t need to be an excuse, simply doing what’s right for his well-being.  This is paramount during a child’s developmental stages.  Plus, it’s good habit forming.  Granted, to counter act this, over the years, I began my mission to teach Kyle to make himself some simple and quick dishes to equip him to fend for himself.  Like what?  Oatmeal in the microwave  or eggs. (Yes, Kyle has always known how to make eggs and to properly and safely use the stove and oven since he was probably two or so.)  Grabbing a banana or apple isn’t too taxing and is an acceptable breakfast or snack, both of which Kyle loves.  Even toast would be better than nothing.

On another side note, I also gave Kyle money to buy a hot lunch, not saying the cafeteria meals were any healthier, but at least it was food for his empty stomach and a warm meal.

Well, enough heavy.  Kyle is now a healthy teenager, one who still confirms his three meals of the day.  Maybe something really did sink in when I was teaching him about healthy eating habits.  I hope so.  I only want Kyle to have every opportunity in life, and that includes eating healthy and staying that way for a long time.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Farming & Planting,Hunting & Fishing,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Fiber One Discovery

It takes a child to bring something small and unnoticeable to be larger than life. ~Heather Piper

There’s no doubt Kyle is my sidekick, and there are times when I realize just how blessed I am to spend so much time with him.  To really appreciate Kyle, you have to truly listen to him, and observe his facial expressions and body language.  Then, and only then, can you really see him; you see his thinking, his thought process, and his logic.  Let me tell you, he’s brilliant, and just plain FUNNY!

Kyle Piper eating blueberries, Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle after eating his favorite… frozen blueberries. He knows they are a healthy snack!

This story starts with a trip to WalMart about two years ago.  I’m not a big fan of WalMart, but sometimes you have to make the trek into the disturbing waters to get something quickly.  Kyle and I darted through and grabbed a few items in the grocery section.

Of course, it was sample day and they were handing out bite size General Mills Fiber One bars.  Kyle turned to me, with that big grin on his face.  Reading his guess I said, “Go ahead.”  He took two little plastic cups with a morsel of a Fiber One bar in each.  Gotta love that little man!  He said one was for me, and one for him.  Letting Kyle have them both made his day!  First of all, that small gesture was so very sweet!  And THAT made my day!  As we proceeded through the store, Narrow went on and on and on and on about the Fiber One bars.  He said, “These are so good, Aunt Heather! I love Fiber One Bars!”  Then he proceeded to tell me, “Aunt Heather, I think they are good for me too.”

Kyle Piper at Central Park...Vacation with Aunt Nikki

Kyle in Central Park, NYC…Vacation with Aunt Nikki. She brought the Fiber One Bars

Now, I have to explain, over the years I’ve been trying to educate Kyle on nutrition, good and bad.  I’m not a health nut by any means, but I think it’s important to be aware of nutrition.  Kyle understands the basics like protein, fat, and sodium.  I don’t totally discourage snacks, however, I do review the ingredients that he’s putting in his body, to help him understand so he can make his own choices with all the facts.  He’s aware that in order to have a proper diet, he needs to eat fruit, vegetables, and protein daily.  I also explained that eating snacks are fine in moderation.  I’ve always encouraged daily exercise, that I set by example, and Kyle knows even a little bit of activity keeps the body burning those snacks and helps to counter obesity.  I’ve showed Kyle how to read food labels when we’re eating and cooking, and certainly before purchasing any food item.  Personally, I draw the line at fast food joints, and I will not concede to his requests, except Subway and sometimes Chick-Fil-A.  I’m very honest with my little man, I’ve explained that the garbage served at fast food places is very detrimental to his health.  Of course, he doesn’t like to hear it, but I’m not doing my job if I don’t educate him and help guide him to healthy habits.

Well, back to the story.  As we went past the Fiber One sample pusher, Kyle gave me another smile again and said, “Hey Aunt Heather, can I get a box of Fiber Ones?”  What could I say?  He just spent the last 20 minutes describing how he LOVES them.  I said, “Go ahead and get a box.”  He snatched up a box, with a huge smile on his face, and put it into the cart.  While shopping, he read the box and went on and on about how good they are for him and pointed out the key highlights like the fiber.  I don’t know if he really knew what he was talking about, or he was trying to sweet talk me, but either way, it was a small gesture that he really appreciated.   I appreciated him pointing out that he wanted to eat a healthy snack, whether it is or not, I don’t know.

Kyle Piper on Aunt Heather Piper

Heather’s little sidekick… Kyle.. before the days of Fiber One

As we loaded up the car with our grocery items,  Kyle grabbed the box of Fiber Ones and started to eat them on our way back to my parent’s house, which is only a five-minute trip.  While unloading the groceries, Kyle started telling my mom about the Fiber Ones, as he kept eating them.  He took one into my dad and I heard him say, “Pap pap, look, these are good for me.”  He said, “Pap pap these are so good, I love them.”  My dad rolled his eyes, chuckled, and said something along the lines of, “What do you need all this fiber for?” Kyle cracks me up!  Mom said, “I bet he’s going to find out about the Fiber Ones soon.”  Next thing you know, Kyle ate the entire box of Fiber Ones!  I asked him, “Did you eat the entire box?” He said, “Yep, I love them Aunt Heather.”  O my!  Of course, I have no room to talk, he’s taking after his Aunt Heather.

With this introduction to a new fiber filled snack, started a trend that has yet to cease and will become the topic of many conversations down the road.  One day I’ll explain the other stories that stemmed from this one trip to the grocery store.  Fiber was the word of the day.

posted by auntheather in Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Observation & Imagination and have Comments (3)
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