As a parent, I want my children to have a broad palate. I remember before having kids dreading the idea of my children only eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, something I couldn't imagine doing myself. With that in mind, I instituted the chew-and-swallow rule early in the wee ones' toddlerhood.
If it's on your plate, you must take a bite large enough to satisfy me, and you must fully chew and swallow that bite before making a pronouncement. Granted, I've had to clarify that rule over the years, since it did originally start out as the "you have to try it" rule, which was open to far looser interpretations.
The wee ones have grown to accept it, and they know I'm not going to make them try things I truly don't expect them to like. Mister Man avoids sauces of all kinds, so I won't force him to try a fettucini alfredo, for example. And really, liver and onions? There's no way I'd eat it, so I won't push it on the wee ones.
Over the years, they've discovered (or remembered) that they really enjoy something from these requirements. And there are some things that we'll just keep trying again later. As Mister Man keeps insisting ever since his field trip to the grocery store (seriously - it was a really fun field trip), "Mommy, as I get bigger my taste buds get bigger, too, and things I used to not like, I might like."
Today we had a baptism to attend, and there was a lunch afterwards at an Italian restaurant. With Little Miss's dairy allergy, it was a bit of a challenge to find something for her to eat with the family style meal. The bruschetta and the bread were unfortunately out, as they had dairy. And it would be two courses before they brought out something for kids.
I offered Little Miss a piece of calamari in the hopes that it might tide her over.
And she proceeded to eat at least half a family size platter of calamari. (And an entire monstrously large bowl of pasta with marinara, but we won't talk about that now.) As I saw her continue to ask for more and more, I realized that maybe I should be a little more selective in what I offer her.
Maybe I'll find something a little less expensive to offer her next time. Can you imagine the guy on his first date with her as a teenager when she starts ordering?