At Long Last


A day I often thought would never come has finally arrived!  My two-year-old tries new food.

~~~You may now pause to do a happy dance with me ~~~

My daughter has always been a remarkably easy-going, compliant, delightful little person in every way except one: eating.  Sure, she was as eager as any baby when first introduced to the wonderful world of solids, but she eventually fell into a jarred-baby-food rut and it all went downhill from there.

In the beginning it wasn’t so bad.  We’d simply hide unfamiliar or “disliked” foods in with other stuff.  That system worked okay…until she figured out what we were up to.  Eventually she stopped trusting us altogether and watched the spoon like a hawk to make sure it only touched approved foods.

That was when it was funny.

Then we stopped buying the jarred stuff and war broke out.

All the popular magazines and articles said, “Don’t become a short-order cook!  Make your kid eat what you eat”  So we tried being firm.  We tried being tricky.  We tried being clever.  No go.

The popular magazines and articles said, “Kids will eat when they get hungry enough.  No child will starve himself.”  No, but my daughter would get physically ill from not eating.

The popular magazines and articles said, “Involve your kids in the preparation process!  Then they’ll take more interest in the food!”  My daughter was 18 months old.  She didn’t care.

The popular magazines and articles said, “It’s just part of being a toddler; every child outgrows this.”  Yeah, but you said not to become a short-order cook.  What does she eat in the meantime?

We tried everything.  Reasoning, punishing, bribing, force-feeding, coaxing, bullying, waiting.  She’d clench her mouth shut, turn away, spit it out, whatever it took.  Many hours spent at a food- and tear-splattered table amounted to nothing but frustration and defeat.

The popular magazines and articles said, “Teach your kids to eat healthy foods!  All toddlers are picky, but you can make it fun!”  I wanted to take my shoe off and throw it at…well, just throw it.

Friends were nice and all, offering advice similar to the magazines and articles, but with a smile and sympathizing pat.  I’d walk away thinking, “So…how about you take her for a week, fix her, and then give her back?”

But then, one day, she actually ate a “carrot coin.”  A few days later, a “baby tree.”  It was amazing.  I gushed and beamed and applauded (maybe this was her ulterior motive all along…).
Then she finally tried a noodle.  And a piece of lettuce…The day she ate a chicken nugget was just huge, because it was a meat.  Most parents don’t think much of chicken nuggets — I treasure that day.

I can’t say exactly how it happened, but somehow my daughter went from exclusively eating breads, fruits, and cheese, to trying something new nearly every day for the past couple of weeks.  We’re talking casseroles, sauces, meats, fish, etc.  I’m so proud of her!

So if you are in the same boat, I honestly, really, truly do feel for you.  Don’t lose heart!

After all, how many adults do you know who only eat PB&J?


2 responses »

  1. Cue Etta Jame’s “At Last”…

    I totally relate to this post. Aria was the EXACT same way. Even now we still struggle through new foods, but she will always at least try it first and if she doesn’t like it, we hit a roadblock and have to coax her through every bite…but at least we’ve made progress!

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