I’m no biologist, but I’m pretty sure humans are required to consume food to survive. I’m also pretty sure that children need to eat balanced meals to successfully grow up. However, in my household, I seem to have some sort of mutant children who subsist on air, dairy, and mountains of fruit. They are scientific anomalies! Remember our overconfident pre-baby selves who said stupid things like “my child will eat what we eat” or “I’m not a restaurant—I won’t be making two dinners” or even the ole “I will teach my child to like vegetables!” adage? HAHAHAHAHA. Reality came up and slapped me in the face, and now I’m here just begging my small humans to eat literally anything. When will my kids eat like regular people?
My oldest wasn’t too bad for the first three years of life.
We were those annoyingly boastful parents who said stuff like “our son likes to eat sushi” or some other ridiculous thing. And we thought we were such amazing parents. Once age 4 hit, I’m shocked this kid isn’t continuously starving. We have a steady rotation of “kid approved” foods like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. But even when he states that he wants a certain food, we have to practically beg him to eat it. Dinner is a near constant refrain of “How many more bites, mommy?” And of course the answer decreases the shorter our patience gets. Eventually we settle on just having him try a bite of everything on his plate and calling it a day. Some days are better than others, but we ALWAYS have a battle with him to eat anything. Then there are weird days where he’ll eat absolutely everything on his plate and ask for seconds. These are infrequent and certainly don’t make up for anything. But it’s like he’s just trying to keep us on our toes (or slowly break us—haven’t decided which one yet).
My daughter is so much worse.
Maybe it’s because she’s still finding her voice and can only ask for a few items directly. But she will basically only eat cheese, yogurt, or fruit. And when I say ask, I really mean that at 6:00 p.m. on the dot, she will stand at the fridge and scream for yogurt or cheese. And of course I’m preparing dinner that neither of them will eat, so my patience isn’t great.
Then, when we give in to her terrorist demands, she will proceed to eat yogurt for about two minutes, and then she will literally paint it all over her. Fun times. This isn’t as bad as the cheese though, because, at least with yogurt, she’s easily cleaned off in the bath (thanks husband!). With cheese, she strongly prefers shredded cheese to cheese sticks or slices. If she should happen to see the bag of shredded cheese in the fridge, this will be the only thing she wants. And it gets freaking everywhere. On the dog, on the wall, in her diaper…. It’s gross. Thankfully, at least cheese and yogurt have calcium and protein in them, so she’s growing. Her second favorite thing is fruit, and that’s basically the rest of her diet. Piles and piles of Costco pallets of fruit.
She could eat her weight in raspberries if we let her.
I wouldn’t mind these dinners so much if I wasn’t also a mom on the go who relied heavily on snack packs of Cheez-Its and Goldfish crackers in a pinch (or for breakfast since the little one has rejected basically anything else in the morning). I mean, it can’t be healthy for them to have such a limited dietary repertoire, right?
My pediatrician good-naturedly recommended things like hiding veggies in stuff they will eat like quesadillas or pasta. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they would probably snub both of these things on the regular.
I’m sure they will both grow out of it, but when?
When do kids actually start liking food? When do they stop turning up their noses at anything green? I hope I’m not alone in my food wars. But I also try not to engage in the wars too much because I’m acutely aware of how food issues can start at a shockingly early age.
For now, I guess I’ll just let my kids eat what they like and I will still try to introduce new things hoping they will stick. But as long as they are on normal growth curves, I guess I’ll just wait for their appetites to adapt. Eventually.
Did you have a little picky eater who eventually grew out of this phase? Please share your advice on how you survived without losing your mind or how you encouraged them to become better eaters!