I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this or not, but both my kids are picky eaters. Mini Me always has been and as he’s gotten older, he has gotten much better although he acts like I’m trying to kill him when I try to give him veggies. Or any fruit other than apples, grapes, and bananas. But his pickiness pales in comparison to Monkey who has been on a ‘beige’ diet since he was pretty much 2 years old. He was rocking the whole food thing, eating guacamole and all kinds of nifty stuff, until he realized that Mini Me would turn up his nose at many of the things on his plate. Not to be outdone, Monkey started to reject foods that he used to shovel in his mouth.
He’s 7 1/2 now and it has been years of frustration. Crackers, bread, rice, and any kind of processed meats like chicken dogs and salami are great. Bananas, apples, kiddie yogurt drinks, cheese strings. Hmmm. I think that may be it. Notice the colour code? We threaten, we beg, we refuse treats. You name it, we have done it. And don’t even go there with the ‘put it on his plate and make him taste it’ schtick. This kid can out-stubborn a mule except with much more shrieking and wailing. Even his grade 1 teacher, with 25 years of experience under his belt said that my kid was an 11 out of 10 on the stubbornness scale. We were rather relieved to hear that it wasn’t just us who thought that.
So about a week ago, I made Indian food. Rice, naan, all part of Monkey’s beige diet. Butter chicken and aloo gobi (curried cauliflower and potatoes) not so much. You could have knocked me over with a feather when, an hour after dinner Monkey casually says to me “Yeah, I tried the yellow stuff but I didn’t like it. Aren’t you proud of me?” Excuse me? He tried aloo gobi? WTF? I think I asked him for clarification about 5 times. “You mean the yellow stuff on your plate tonight?” Yes. “The Indian food I made?” Yes. He was looking at me like I had lost my mind by this point.
When I put him to bed I had to ask once more. “So sweetie, what made you want to try something new tonight?” He just looked at me and said “Well, I was tired of always fighting with you guys so I decided to try some new foods. Are you proud of me?” Proud? I was ready to weep with joy.
Since that fateful night, he has tried ham (delicious!), raisin bread (also delicious), sausages (too spicy, but we will try milder ones next time), pan-fried potatoes (wow, they’re kinda like french fries!) and yogurt that wasn’t strawberry or banana flavoured (yummy!). It has all been led by him so far because quite frankly, we don’t want to jinx it.
Last night he decided he wanted to try a hamburger (or Crabby Patty as he calls it). He took a basket at the grocery store and picked out some lettuce and buns, after making sure I had meat and tomatoes here at the house. I made them tonight and to be fair, he wasn’t a fan. I think the ground beef was off-putting to him. But he did go in the fridge and get out the salami and some cheese, then made himself a ‘hamburger’ with that and lettuce on a bun.
Next he wants to try chicken nuggets. I am crossing my fingers because at last this is something that I can make and which is reasonably healthy and not processed. Still, I wonder what goes on in that boy’s head. I shouldn’t be surprised though. This was the kid who went cold turkey from breast-feeding at 9 months between the 7am feeding and his usual 10am pre-nap feed. Done. Over. Never took the breast again. When he makes up his mind there is no going back. I think we should just enjoy it for what it is and claim victory. How many parents get to hear that their kids are finally listening to them because they got tired of fighting? It’s a first for us, with 10 1/2 years of parenting under our belts and I’ll bet it’s the last.