The Pea Monster and Other Made-up Stories

If you’re a parent that has to deal with a picky eater, then this story is for you. I can’t promise you’ll get the same results but it’s worth a shot if you’ve exhausted all other recourses.

Back in 2005, my boy was a wee baby just getting introduced to solid food. And I had never dealt with a picky eater before. My daughter ate everything I gave her including sour fruit. She would pucker up her face while she chewed on it with her toothless gums and swallow it all merrily. Never did she spit it out or refuse to open her mouth for the next bite. Sonny on the other hand, refused to open his mouth if the food in front of him was not the right color. Distracting him, telling him stories, singing and dancing didn’t trick him into opening his mouth.

When that horrid phase ended, he decided her didn’t like peas. At that point, he was old enough to understand what I was saying. So I did the only thing I remember Ganga doing when she was trying to feed me and I wasn’t complying—I scared the child with the idea of lurking monsters, waiting to whisk him off to a dungeon far far away.

The monster I construed was green and came after children who didn’t eat their peas. He would take them away to his abode and tie them onto poles. Every day the pea monster would visit the captive children.

“We’re hungry,” the children would cry.

The pea monster would bring a giant couldron of pea soup. This he would ladle into bowls and offer to the children. The children would make faces, gag, and push the bowls away.

“Then starve,” the pea monster would holler as he left the crying children.

After several days of refusing pea soup and feeling their innards erode, the kids would beg the pea monster to take them home.

“You can’t go home till you eat a bowl of pea soup,” said the pea monster.

The poor children would cry and plead with him but the pea monster wouldn’t budge at all. Finally, out of sheer desperation, the children would consume an entire bowl of pea soup (and vow never to throw away their peas). The moment they finish their soup, the pea monster would untie them and take them home. The end.

My son never wastes his peas to this day.

I’ve made up other silly stories that I’ve recounted several times to my children. In one story, one of the kids was swallowed by a crocodile for venturing off alone into the woods without telling his parents or siblings. But don’t worry, the parents cut open the crocodile’s stomach and rescue their boy! Maybe I came up with this story because as a toddler my son had the habit of wandering off on his own when we were out and about. It also helped that we lived in gatorland, otherwise known as Florida, where every lake, pond, and river was teeming with alligators.

The things we parents do in the name of parenting! Thankfully, my kids turned out ok even after all the craziness I put them through. Thank God for that.

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