Toddlers and picky eating (AKA pass the wine!)
I feel like motherhood, and life in general, is all about balance. I always say, “I’ve got some of my shit together, some of the time” – which will be a future blog post all on its own. You can’t really have it all, or be doing a great job at all the things, all the time. For example: my daughter C has always been an amazing sleeper, and she is the pickiest human being on planet earth. See? All about balance.
C wasn’t always picky. When she was a baby, she would eat most of the food that I offered. Homemade purees, avocado, roasted squash, and eggs were devoured daily. Over time, I slowly noticed that she would never eat things that most babies/kids would eat, including: pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, beans, meat. What made it much worse for me was noticing how all of my friends’ kids would eat literally anything offered to them. I watched on in disbelief as they happily gobbled down beans, meat, pasta, salad, broccoli, and anything else you can think of. I’m not sure if this was because they were mostly boys. I just know that it made me very stressed out, and I started to wonder what I was doing wrong. Picky eating is just one of the many things that I’ve had mom guilt about over the last few years.
She has somehow transformed into one the pickiest eaters I’ve ever seen. Her food particularities have been confirmed by my daycare provider. In all the years that she’s worked with children, my kid takes the prize for pickiest eater. You know how most kids will eat what they see other kids eating? Ya, not my kid. This is just cruel! CRUEL! I make homemade food everyday, and C isn’t interested in most of it. Still, I offer it, day in and day out, hoping that one day she’ll eat it. It’s worth mentioning that she’s a strong-willed Taurus, and very spirited. So, unless she really wants to do something, it’s just not going to happen. This is where the wine comes in.
I think it’s fairly normal that most toddlers go through a phase where they don’t like certain food textures, or they abruptly stop eating their most beloved foods. I offer everything that we eat, along with a familiar food or two at each meal, and hope for the best. I’ve done countless hours of reading about picky eating, taken webinars, consulted with a friend that is a dietician, and tried just about every suggested tactic that I can find. It’s like having an unpaid part-time job. The main thing I’ve learned is that there are things that I’m in charge of at mealtimes (where, when, and what is offered), and there are things that C is in charge of (what, if, and how much she eats). The most recent new food that C tried was ketchup with her grilled cheese, and one bite of a roasted sweet potato wedge. Today she took a bite of bacon, spit it out, and said “I don’t like it”.
At least she tried it, I guess. Sigh.
The main problem I have with picky eating is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy a meal at a restaurant or a friends house and having C eat what is served from the available options. I’m getting tired of slugging around food that I know she likes. It’s exhausting. She is growing like a weed, happy and healthy, so that is not my concern. I am worried that she will have a lifelong fear or avoidance of new foods. Did you know that 1 in 4 picky kids goes on to become a picky adult? I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re headed, and I’m doing everything that I can to prevent it.
In the meantime, I’ll keep on keepin’ on. If you see me watching your kids eat with too much interest, it’s all just part of my research ;).