I don’t consider myself to be a Mom who cuts off the crust because the kids “don’t like it”. I don’t force them to eat it, because I don’t generally battle too much over food (more to come on this in a future post). I distinctly remember my Mother telling me that the crust is where all the vitamins are… now, I understand this not to be true. The crust is simply the outermost toasted/baked part of a loaf of bread. The texture is different from the squishy-wonderful-ness of the inside parts. I get it. I was a kid. I love fresh white bread! I truly do.
All that being said, let’s meet the sandwich cutters. I love them. They make sandwiches more fun to eat. However, sandwich cutters made me into a crust cutting off Mom! I don’t serve the parts from around the cute little cut-outs. I toss them in the dog’s bowl and he loves it. No one complains, everyone wins… except now, my youngest daughter expects sandwiches without crust!
We were making a “snack” one night, you know, just a quick spread of some Nutella on bread, folded in half and off we go… and doesn’t she request the crust to be cut off. I look at her and think “I do NOT cut crusts off sandwiches”, but I do and have been! Every time I punch out a sandwich-saurus or grilled cheese penguins, I have been cutting the crusts! I, of course, do not admit this, I simply ask her “what will happen if you eat the crust?”. I love the mind of a 4 year old. I wait for something dramatic, but she replies ” Nothing”. Mom is right! Nothing will happen, so here is your sandwich with crust.
But I don’t want the crust. I don’t like it!
Ugh. I’m losing patience with this discussion. Okay, let’s “behaviour basics” her. Today, first you must eat one bite of crust and see what happens to you then I will cut the crust off. She says nothing will happen if she eats a bite. Just to further my point, I ask a few more “clarifying” questions. (Note: this line of questioning may not work with all children, you may also disagree with what I said, take it as comic relief if needed.)
Will you melt if you eat it?
Will your stomach turn to stone? Will you fall into a deep sleep? She answers all my questions with a silly face and an “of course not Mommy”. She eats one bite today – victory.
Day 2… it just so happens, this single slice sandwich is a popular snack this week, so here we are battling over crust again. This time, I suggest two bites of crust. Standing in the kitchen, I re-ask my questions. “Is the crust poison like Snow White’s apple? Will you fall into a deep sleep and have to wait for true love’s kiss?” Again, the 4 year old thinks I am absurd and stands beside me waiting for something to eat. Casually and without protest, she eats the crust (of the entire) bread like a baby bird from my hand, as I cut them off her sandwich.
And as it is finished, I check “Are you okay? Did anything happen to you?” Laughing at me, she takes her crust-eaten sandwich to finish. Fast forward to the weekend.
Saturday afternoon grilled cheese lunch. Cut in triangles, like most kids, she eats down to the crust.
Can I have another grilled cheese?
Really? Another? There is still 25% of your sandwich on the plate! “If you eat the crust, you might not need another.”
And somehow, by some miracle and without being poisoned by the crust, the 4 year old finishes every last bite of her sandwich. She is super proud of herself and shows off her plate.
Like I said, the line of questioning I used to discuss crust eating with my daughter might not be for everyone, but using small steps to a bigger goal can work for lots of things.
Start with 1 part, bite or step. Increase to 2, then 3 and so on. Praise and genuine excitement at the accomplishment will be like gold.
Sorry, dog, no more crusts from snack-sandwiches… only when we cut sandwich-saurses.