On learning to like things

My two nieces spent the night at our house over the weekend. Jasmine is eight and Keona is seven. They're both learning to assert themselves and testing their boundaries, so they were quite a handful when it came to things they had to do, like eat or take a bath.

When you tell Jasmine to do something, she studies your face closely to see how serious you are and decides to follow (or not to) based on what she sees. When you tell Keona to do something, it's a battle of wills and, sometimes, fake tears. They're both beautiful, kind, and sweet, and they're also stubborn, strong-willed, and, really, too clever for their own good.

They are also very picky eaters.

When my mom served them red rice (we're trying to eat healthier) and corned beef (I said trying!) with scrambled eggs for brunch, they both said matter-of-factly that they only ate white rice. It took us a lot of convincing and prodding to make them eat.

We told them how red rice is healthy for them. "I don't like it."

We told them them how red rice is princess food in the mountains of the North. "I don't like princesses."

We told them how we wouldn't leave the table until they were done, so no Minecraft until they clean their plates.

Keona liked corned beef, so she was the first to yield. The moment she realized the red rice "doesn't taste like anything," she couldn't stop eating. Jasmine, on the other hand, declared she would just eat the rice, after having convinced herself that it tasted like chocolate. Eventually, she asked to try "just a little" of the corned beef and was surprised she liked it. The two girls finally cleaned their plates--and they both decided on their own that they actually liked what they ate, even the strange red rice.

In fact, Keona asked for a second helping in the afternoon.

This got me thinking about the things I like and how I got to like them. For instance, I love to eat, but I'm not a very adventurous eater. For years, I would order the same items in restaurants, because I liked knowing that I already liked what I was going to have.

This week, I'll blog about at least three things I know for sure I like and try to recall how I learned to like them for the first time.