Ants on a Log

My favorite snack food of the moment? Ants on a log. [Thanks for asking.]

Hands down. Super-human, strong, ants' legs down.

Love me some ants on a log.

I rediscovered [considering it's most common among the children ages 3-10] this snack recently in a very ironic way.

I was trying to get Nasko to try celery.

It's super cool to watch a five-year-old try foods to which he's never been exposed.

Last night, for example, we had corn on the cob for the first time this season. [It's still too early my friends. It just left me hungry for actual mid-west grown corn on the cob. Put the pack of California-grown corn down and walk away...] Nasko kept trying to hold and eat his corn the same way he eats a naked hot dog. The cob was too big to fit into his mouth, but meanwhile, butter, salt, and pepper got EVERYwhere.

It was awesome.

I eventually ended Nasko's suffering [and starvation] by demonstrating how to eat the corn. He still nibbled at it like a shy squirrel, but at least he stopped trying to bite off chunks of the whole cob.

We've also been able to introduce Nasko to other foods which will inevitably scar him for life.

In the Newingham house, we introduce new foods in two different ways — with fanfare and encouragement, or with silence, averted-eyes and artful plating.

These methods have tricked persuaded Nasko into eating lemons, pickles, asparagus, broccoli, black olives [this completely back-fired, he loves black olives now] and cooked spinach [which he also eats in egg casseroles and quiches].

So the other day I thought, "Nasko needs to try celery." Never mind that the child has sensory issues and celery isn't typically included in the average child's favorite food list.

Nasko would probably love it. Right?

So I washed and chopped up a stalk of celery for my boy.

At this particular moment, I chose not to make a fuss of the new food, and went with option two — eye-aversion and artful plating.

Without making eye contact, I slid the plate across the bar to Nasko. The hot pink plastic plate [we're cheap gender-neutral here] contained two gluten-free crackers and two sticks of celery. [That's what I meant by artful plating, in case there was question.]

Nasko obviously gobbled up the crackers and totally ignored the celery. [He's also really good at the eye-aversion.] He began asking for more crackers, but because I went through mom-training, I knew to say, "Eat your celery first!"

He stared at me as if I'd cut off a tree branch, chopped it, washed it, and placed it on the hot pink plastic plate in front of him.

Well, I kinda did, I guess.

I'm not really sure how celery grows. I am not the one doing the original cutting. I stick to the buying, chopping and washing.

Since option two wasn't working, I launched into the fanfare of option one: "Nasko, you should try some yummy celery." "Celery! [Anything said with an exclamation point excites my not-quite-fluent-English-speaking son at this point in his life.]" "Mmmm, look, Mama will take a bite! Yummy!"

Yeah, option one wasn't working either.

At this point in time, we had a hot pink plate with two pieces of celery [minus the bite that Mama took] and a child repeatedly signing cracker on his elbow. And on my elbow.

As if I didn't understand what he meant.

So, brilliant as I am, I decided the celery needed some dressing up. Everything looks better with the proper attire, right?

So I rummaged through the cabinets and found peanut butter and raisins.

Now we're cooking with gas! [Actually it's best that we're not cooking with gas... Two times, completely independent of each other, I started fires in my kitchen yesterday. With my electric oven. I really am a good cook. I swear.]

So I dressed the two stalks of celery up with peanut butter and raisins. I made two of the best looking ants on a log that you have ever seen.

Once again, I slid that hot pink plastic plate across the bar.

Once again, Nasko signed cracker.

I hadn't really thought through the fact that Nasko doesn't like peanut butter and he's totally freaked out by shriveled grapes.

So I got Nasko more crackers and I ate two wonderful ants on a log masterpieces off of the hot pink plastic plate.

And then I made two more ants on a logs yesterday. And today.

And Nasko ate more crackers.

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