Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Cure for Picky Eaters

Yesterday my post was all, Oh the magic of having a child, yadda yadda. Of course, parenthood and being a mom means putting up with some pain in the butt stuff too.

One of my biggest challenges was getting my kid to eat. I think I might have one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. When she was three, she started to reject all fruits and all vegetables. She wouldn't eat cantaloupe, apples, carrots, or watermelon.

What kid doesn't like watermelon?????

But that wasn't all. She also wouldn't eat mac 'n' cheese, hot dogs, or pizza. All the kid foods, in fact, were a No.

I used to make her two things: bacon, and buttered pasta. That was all she'd eat.
Bub's perfect meal

Here's the thing. Since I had worked so hard to get pregnant, I approached motherhood with great zeal. I made all my own babyfood. While I was pregnant, I ate every green leafy thing known to man.

So to have my daughter reject good stuff after all that was shattering, to say the least.

I blame myself: at the time, there was a dearth of baby food recipe books. The one I found suggested giving the kid "cubes of tofu" as snacks.

That didn't go well. Let's just leave it at that.
"Throw that in the trash where it belongs and bring me bacon"

There were  several things that cured my child, and here they are:

1. The wonderful playdate moms. They would invite Bub over  for dinner, and she was so excited to be on a playdate that she would eat chicken with broccoli. Thank you, wonderful playdate moms!

2. Costco *sound of celestial choir singing* When we went, it was  lunchtime and I didn't have bacon or buttered pasta handy. We rolled around the store, and as the nice ladies in hairnets handed out  samples, Bub stuck out her skinny arm and grabbed those Dixie cups  filled with new food items. And ate them. She ate Japanese noodles, clam chowder, vegetable stew that day. And she still asks for them. Thank you Costco!

3. OK, here is the risky one, and please try not to faint with horror - I still wanted her to try fresh veggies. So I offered, once I knew she was responsible enough, to teach her how to use a sharp knife to cut up peppers and cucumbers.

Best believe I hovered over her like a second skin, but as she chopped she started to sample. And she actually ate - STRIPS OF RAW RED PEPPER.

This is like a Second Coming, you  do see.
Yeah, the knife episode didn't look like this at all. Somehow pepper seeds managed to splatter every inch of kitchen.

Not only that, but ever since the playdate mom / Costco / knife combo, Bub has started to request  different things to eat: omelettes, sushi, and pasta with stuff on it that isn't butter. That is huge in Bub World.

No watermelon yet, but who knows? Maybe by the time she's nine.


Ann Marie Klecak said...

Al, this so reminds me of Christie. She ate hot dogs and French fries for what seemed like FOREVER! Her palette never seemed to change nor did her diet. I used to cringe at holiday time with the fam! I am happy to report that at age 26 she is healthy and much more adventurous in the food arena. I wasted a lot of time worrying instead of remembering that when they are hungry they will eat. It's kind of like learning....when the time is right, all the pieces fall into place :-)

Karen Pokras said...

I am so jealous! My 5 yr old still will only eat buttered pasta & hotdogs (yuk!) He also doesn't like pizza or cookies, cakes, or candy (seriously - it's hard to believe we share the same dna!!) My only saving grace is that he loves fruit, so I make sure he gets plenty of that. Veggies however are a big no-no, although he does have to eat one piece of a vegetable every night - I'm telling you - it's painful!! We've tried the costco/playdate thing - he'd rather starve. I'm afraid to give him a knife since he's in his power ranger stage - but I might just get that desperate soon lol!

Karen Pokras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
west_2552 said...

The evolution of the tastebud. Kids really do need to "grow into" certain foods, and that often doesn't happen until their tastebuds "mature". I didn't like tomatoes when I was little. Couldn't get past the slimey seeds! And that fuzz on peaches. Gross!! Now I love both!! I can name the foods that I DON'T like on one hands, so I'd say I have a fairly extensive taste palette. I see both Mary and Paul (23 and 22) recently eating things that I thought would never pass their lips. Now-- lima beans, green olives, pears, coconut and Dr. Pepper/root beer-- YUCK!! Happy Eating!!

Alison DeLuca said...

Karen, I feel your pain! I was desperate at one point. Kept shoveling in the pasta and bacon, and now, magically, the thing happened that everyone told me would happen - she actually Eats Other Stuff.

Still, it is very disconcerting when you're in it.

Carlie Cullen said...

I was a picky eater as a child (and still am to a degree) but nowhere near as bad as Bub. My thing was cheese. If my mum tried to give me cheese I'd run a mile. BUT, if my next door neighbour gave me some I'd eat it, saying how yummy it was.
My mum ended up buying cheese to give to our neighbour to give to me just so I'd eat it. LMAO.
I didn't find this out until years later, but after a year or so, I began eating cheese at home and now I love the stuff!

Just thought this little anecdote would give you a smile :o)

Eli M. Clark said...

WOW! You've given me ideas! My nephews (4 and 6) are the pickest eaters ever! It's frustrating and I get to the point where I just want to cry because they just won't eat. Maybe I'll try out what you suggested...even though I'm super leery about the knife...