Thursday, November 12, 2009

Picky, Picky - Revisited

Rack of Lamb2

I love to cook. Our current kitchen has become too full of toddler/baby items to make it work, but in the new house I will have plenty of room to indulge. As a child I was not a picky eater. The same things I hated as a kid (most fish, cilantro and liver) are things that I hate to this day. I think my mother is still waiting for me to develop a taste for fish. Sorry, Mom. When I met M he told me stories of his picky eating. I chuckled at tales of his lunches being the same for years and a diet that consisted of grilled cheese and hot dogs because he would not eat anything else. After all, we regularly enjoy sushi, Indian Food, Vietnamese food, etc.. He obviously grew out of it, right? I just assumed that my children would eat what was put in front of them. I was wrong. So very wrong.

Luke was a late teether (first tooth at 9 months, top teeth at 13 months) and I was paranoid about giving him certain foods because I was afraid he would choke. I don't know where this obsession with choking came from, but I have spent hours cutting things in to small bits and I didn't introduce a wide variety of foods to him at an early age. I used to blame his extreme finickiness on my paranoia and late teething. It made sense. No teeth + crazy mom = a toddler who won't eat ANYTHING. Well, maybe it isn't me, after all. I recently came across this article in The New York Times. So, along with L's stubborn Polish personality, I can also blame M for his picky eating, right?

In all seriousness, it is driving me crazy. I feel trapped by my lack of time to dedicate to this problem. I think about it and then time runs out and it's 5:30, we're just getting home and L is starving. I have tried putting cheese on everything, making it colder/hotter/lesslumpy/ name it, I've tried it. I have written about his before and I tried many of your suggestions. At the time, I thought that by the age of 2o months we would be in a better place with this. Unfortunately, the upheaval of E's birth and a move in the near future has distracted me. I have had more than one person suggest fast food, because who doesn't love fast food, right? That's totally cool for some people, but it isn't how we roll. I don't expect to keep him from fast food, but I'm not really willing to go there right now. So I am going to lay it out for you, because I need help, internets!

L will eat: grapes, bananas, spinach with Mozzarella cheese, rice&cheese, rice&beans, baked beans, roasted turkey, ravioli. The foods I just listed are subject to sudden rejection without warning. L has recently rejected the baked beans. He will not eat veggies, except for the spinach.

I have not really explored the veggie puree thing, but I think it has come to that point. I know that he isn't going to starve or be scarred for life by this. He takes his vitamins and is a healthy, active kid. My concern is partly nutritional but it's also a matter of convenience. We can't just go to a friends house for dinner or even out as a family without stress about bringing food that L will eat. So, should I just give up or should I try to fight genetics and make this kid eat some green things if it kills me??



  1. Our pediatrician says just keep trying - we are STILL going thru this with H who as you know - just turned 4. We put in front of our kids what we eat, sometimes they eat it, sometimes they don't. The back up plan for starving children who don't eat what was put in front of them (which they never do!) is pb&j - that's it - no other options...
    Per the advice of our doc - I am just not stressing about it anymore and putting teeny tiny bites of what we eat in front of them (so as not to waste it when they won't try it), asking them to try it repeatedly, and then just giving them milk and a sammy if they need it later.
    ::shrugs:: not ideal I know - but they aren't starving to death, are getting the nutrition they need and we aren't eating McD's chicken nuggets every night...(one of the ONLY things they like - not the fries, just the nuggets!)

  2. Does he eat any differently at daycare? Sometimes kids are a pain in the you-know-what for their parents and inexplicable flexible elsewhere. I know you've mentioned snacks at daycare. What about sending snacks (assuming you're the one that sends them and they aren't provided) that you know he wouldn't try at home, to see what he'll do there?

    I do think some of it is just time... My brother was so skinny as a toddler that my grandparents were always asking my mom if she fed him. And then one day things clicked and he fell head-over-heels in love with food. I'm not sure there's anything but cream cheese that he won't eat (he's 25 now).

    Sidenote, if there's truth to the genetics theory, I'm screwed. I want a non-picky, flexible eater but with half of my genes, we could be in trouble. I'm mega picky.

    Oh and in terms of your convenience comment, he is almost old enough to understand that he can have what is served or nothing. So when you go to a friend's house, you can say, "All the kids are eating ____. If you're hungry, there's some for you too!" If you always pack extra food for him, he won't have to try new stuff. But he might be more prone to try stuff from someone else, somewhere else. Obviously when he's still little and can't be reasoned with, the "eat it or have nothing" approach doesn't work, but it won't be long til that might be successful.

    No matter what, remember that he isn't going to starve and that he's going to be just fine even if he doesn't touch veggies for a while. You're doing a great job - the list of what he does eat is actually quite excellent!

    Gosh I ramble a lot.

  3. i'm in the same boat with beast. the kids eats mac & cheese for lunch & dinner every single day (and if HAS to be kraft or he won't touch it). the only other things he will eat are waffles/pancakes, fruit snacks, chicken nuggets, mcdonald's/burger king, yogurt, & oreos (and they HAVE to be oreos. he won't eat the generic ones).

    he's healthy & growing, so the doctors haven't voiced any concern yet. i wish he would eat other food though! i just keep my fingers crossed that one day he'll go back to my little boy who eats whatever i put in front of him.

    good luck!

  4. I wish I had an answer, but I am really curious to see what everyone else's experiences are. Of course, I will be taking notes in case I run into this in our house.
    Good luck.

  5. Blue got teeth at three months, and would eat absolutely anything. Still pretty much does. However, we think Pink is going to be an extremely picky eater. She rejects much of her stage 1 baby food (at 8 months,) won't eat stage 2, and is a poor feeder all the way around. I'm not sure what we'll do. We have found the best way to get Blue to eat something new is to have him help prepare it. Perhaps that will help with Pink.

  6. I wish I could help, but (with fingers crossed), so far, we seem to have dodged the picky-eater bullet. (with 3 under 2, I feel constantly under-fire anyway, so missing one or two is necessary for my sanity!).
    I second those that have said he won't starve and it sounds like you're doing great! Also, that the doctor would tell you if it's a problem. Most of the time these days, I figure I have to pick my battles, and if nobody's bleeding, we can move on. :)

  7. Well, you can get him to eat spinach so I think you are good to go in the green department for the short term. I mean, it's all popeye ate, correct? :)

    I think a large majority of toddlers have preference foods that revolve in phases, at least that's what mine does. I think you are doing okay and just keep offering new foods as often as you can.

    Love the pic of L & E by the way. Her Hair!!!!If only my little one had that much...