I question a lot of the choices I have made in parenting him and question how many things I've done because I'm lazy or not strong enough to be the better parent. Because it is true - being a parent, a good one, requires a huge amount of resolve, resiliency and thick skin. Good parenting involves taking the path of MOST resistance instead of the least.
Son's numerous allergies really changed my parenting style. With Daughters I was, and am incredibly tough, happy to say no, and willing to stand my ground until they see that I am boss. With Son, I find myself decidedly less so. It has lead Husband to say on numerous occasions, "You're spoiling him" or "You spoil him." But Son's allergies make it hard for me to stand ground, especially around situations of food.
Since Son can't eat so many things (the big allergies are dairy, egg, soy, nuts) I have protected him and his food from prying sister hands. When he gets a plate of french fries, it's all his. After all, the cheese pizza his sisters get with the macaroni that they can eat are simply off limits. Daughters will look at his plate, and want a single fry and try and take one, only to have Son completely go nuts and scream about wanting the french fry back. It is not an attractive side of him, but unfortunately it is one that I have helped create by protecting his food and never insisting on his sharing it.
But I'm not happy with the end result. It's not okay for Son to behave that way. I refuse to be an enabler of such obnoxious behavior so recently I have been working very hard to change the way I parent him. I'm stricter, enforcing a lot more rules and the end result is that I'm fighting a whole lot more with Son as I try to explain to him how things need to be. It has been grueling, exhausting and many days I'm about to throw in the towel and just let him have his way. But I don't want to be the parent who lets such things happen and instead I want to be better than that.
But I do it because I love him, and I know that in him is a great, wonderful, loving person. I know that the end result will be well worth it. After days of fighting with him, I decided to do a mini baking project with him and told him we'd make some cookies. Most cookies are off limits and Son knows this. However, when I told him that we would make cookies that he could eat, his face lit up like nothing else and his smile beamed from ear to ear. With his help I experimented with two rounds of cookies and came up with this Vegan Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie. They are wonderfully flavored, not too sweet and with a great chewy, slightly crispy texture. Son loves them (but prefers them warm) and everyone I field tested them on was completely taken aback when I explained that the cookies were in fact vegan, with no butter or egg in them. You simply don't miss it and it's a cookie you can make for your entire family, regardless of allergies.
It was nice serving these to the kids and not hearing any fighting. Everyone each had two and they were gobbled down. No screaming, no that's not fair and no arguing. It was a magnificent moment.
In the meanwhile, I will continue wrestling with Son and trying to be a better parent.
Vegan Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (egg-free, dairy-free)
2 cups old fashioned oats (or quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola, safflower, or corn)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 ripe bananas large (almost 1 cup total)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels (Trader Joes and Ghiradelli and Guittard are all dairy free)
Preheat oven to 375. In medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. Grease two cookie sheets OR line them with parchment paper.
In a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment OR in large bowl with a hand mixer beat oil, sugars, and bananas at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add vanilla extract and mix until blended. At low speed add flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepare sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. If dough seems a bit stiff, then moisten fingertips and flatten dough. Bake one sheet at time for 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are golden. Allow to firm up on cookie sheet and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies taste better at room temperature.