I let John put the bag in the microwave, close the door, and push the buttons to start the microwave. This was immediately gratifying to him as the microwave lit up, started making noise, and we watched the carrots turn around and around inside. When the microwave beeped at the end of three minutes, John happily announced, "All done!" I took the bag out of the microwave, cut it open with the scissors, and poured the steamed carrots into a bowl so John wouldn't burn his hands.
"Oooo... carrots! Yay!"
"Do you like carrots, John?"
"Yeah, I like carrots."
Then came the fun part, and the part that might be my undoing.
The recipe I found for honey carrots is simple. Steamed carrots + honey + ground cinnamon + ground ginger. Mix and serve. John had never eaten honey before because of the risk developing botulism from exposure to Clostridium botulinum spores.
(Sidebar nursing moment: Infants under 12 months and anyone with a suppressed immune system should never consume honey, especially raw honey, because of the potential for contamination with Clostridium botulinum spores. Honey is safe for anyone over 12 months with a normal, healthy immune system. For more information on botulism, visit the CDC's website here.)
Aaaaanyway, so John had never tasted honey before. When we opened the cute, bear-shaped bottle of honey he asked what it was.
"Mommy, what is that??"
"Would you like to try a little bit?"
So I flipped open the top and dabbed the teeniest, tiniest little drop of honey on the end of his finger for him to taste. He loves it. No surprise there. In fact, he may be slightly fixated on the bottle of honey now. Oops. So he held the bottle upside down over the bowl and he helped me drizzle a little less than a tablespoon of honey over the carrots. Then he helped me shake the bottles of ground cinnamon and ground ginger over the carrots, and stirred it all up with a big spoon.
He seemed so excited. He said it was yummy. He said he wanted to eat them. He LIED!
Ok, maybe he didn't exactly "lie" but he did change his mind 10 seconds later. We sat at the table, held hands to say grace, and started to eat. John went first for his cup of milk, then for the other items on his plate.
"Is your dinner yummy?"
"Yeah, it's yummy."
"Would you like to try some carrots?"
"Pick up your fork and try a yummy piece of carrot with the honey on it."
"I don't like it, Mommy. I don't like it."
WHAT?! So he didn't eat them. He wouldn't even touch them. I asked him a few more times throughout the meal if he would please try the carrots, but he wouldn't. I didn't want to make a big deal out of the carrot refusal, so I praised him for eating the rest of his food and made a point to tell him how delicious mommy's carrots tasted. I wanted him to associate getting my attention with positive behavior and praise (eating his food) rather than with negative attention and frustration (not eating the carrots). He asked for the honey several times during the meal, so I reminded him that there was "lots" of honey on the carrots... maybe he should eat a carrot. That didn't really work either. But that's okay. I kept my cool. No one yelled, no one cried, and we enjoyed a really nice dinner together.
The carrots, though.... they will be back tomorrow. Mark my words, little man cub, you will eventually eat a freaking carrot.
And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.