When I had kids, there were a lot of things I didn’t know about parenting. But the one thing I was certain of was that my future would probably be chock full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Since I knew it was the preferred lunch choice for picky eaters, I had no doubt my children would fall squarely into the peanut butter and jelly camp and I was destined to find smears of PB&J on my walls and furniture for years to come.
Of course, the worst thing you can do with kids is make cocky assumptions, because as soon as you plunk down a wad of bills on a case of Skippy at Costco, your 4 year-old will whip around and tell you that PB&J is totally disgusting and she's not having it.
Not wanting to give up on this most basic of American staples, we tried chunky and smooth, fresh ground, organic, chocolate flavored, almond butter, cashew butter and just about everything else made of nuts on the market. But she stubbornly refused all of it and declared herself a Peanutbutteretarian. When I told her that meant she only ate peanut butter, she assured me I was wrong and invoked her constitutional right for mac and cheese instead.
Eventually, she started eating whatever we served her… although it didn't happen until just before she went off to college. Sadly, though, within a week of moving in, she immediately returned to eating mac and cheese. Having tasted the dorm food first hand, I could understand her reluctance to dine on the mystery meat du jour. But even with the black hole of edible dorm food, my daughter still would not deign to eat peanut and butter jelly.
I finally decided the time had come to give up on the peanut butter and jelly dream and accept that only one of my children would follow in a long line of Beckerman peanut butter eaters.
Then, one day, we took a family trip out of town and found ourselves at a restaurant that served no less than 40 different kinds of hamburgers. They had everything on the menu from tuna sushi on burgers to pastrami reubens on burgers. We all perused the menu for a while and then when the server asked my daughter for her order, she said: “I’d like the peanut butter and jelly burger,”
We all gaped at her in silence.
“You want the WHAT?” I finally asked her.
“The peanut butter and jelly burger,” she replied.
“But you HATE peanut butter and jelly,” I said.
She thought for a moment. “Well, I haven’t tried it for a while and I do love hamburgers so I thought if I combined the two it might taste good.”
My husband and I were astonished but said nothing. About 20 minutes later our orders arrived. But no one took a bite of their burgers. We all just waited and stared at my daughter as she dug into her peanut butter and jelly burger.
“Well, what do you think?” I finally asked her.
“It’s totally disgusting,” she said. “I’m just going to get a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.”
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