Sunday, November 7, 2010

Food For Thought

Recently I attended a “fussy eaters” seminar to try and tackle the issues we face when it comes to my son’s penchant to loathe almost all things in vegetable form.

These are trying times, let me tell you. Not being a “MasterChef” (my skills lay in other areas, or at least that how I justify my far from fancy offerings), it is demoralising to have my lovingly, painstakingly prepared from scratch healthy meals pushed aside in disgust by my two year old son. It’s quite disheartening too, especially when you always feel robbed of time and end up cooking two dinners in one day – one for yourselves and a whole separate, bland one for the son. Oh how I long for the day when he eats what we are eating…

How do you convince (or coerce) a stubborn 26 month old, who knows his mind and can very easily communicate his likes and dislikes that broccoli is yummy - even though most of us will concur it is not, but he isn’t to know that! He flat out refuses to open his mouth to taste it, judging it solely on appearance. At times I’ll tempt him by telling him carrots are the food of choice of his beloved dinosaurs, but not even that garners any success. Everyone loves Sweet Potato, and while I concede he’ll give it a go if its mashed and mixed with potato, don’t dare offer it up in boiled or roasted form or he will screams in disgust that I could even consider plating up such uninspiring fare.

And you can forget the old faithful mantra that oft gets trotted out at troublesome dinnertimes - telling him by devouring his vegies it will make him grow up big and strong is of no use as he could care less about his future physique.

Yes, we have resorted to “hiding” vegetables in any which way we can, but surely that’s just a hindrance to a long term solution? But for how long do I have to waste perfectly good (and usually expensive) vegies that are inevitably going to end up in the bin, instead of his stomach?

If he was allowed to survive on a dinner of sausages and chicken nuggets he’d be in cuisine heaven. And while I acknowledge his other meals are not quite the battle or bland affair (though I’d love it if he’d consider a variant to vegemite sandwiches come lunch time), he really is resistant about trying anything new. Unless of course you offer him a doughnut for the first time – see how quickly the baby seal scoffs that down. Yet, try to give him a cut of celery and hummus dip and he’ll have dismissed it quicker the Sri Lankan Bowlers are ripping through our current Aussie Cricket team.

Of course there is also the famed $64million dollar question as to why he will eat anything offered to him at day-care, yet refuses to show me the same leniency at home. And its not like they are the ones preparing the meals – they are all being cooked by me! But try giving him one of the stir-fry’s on a non day-care day for lunch he’ll either spit it out or flat out demand a vegemite sandwich instead – and wage toddler warfare on me until he wins.

So, where did it all go wrong? According to a British Survey, if you don’t start serving up the same meal to your child that you are having, by the age of one, then you have a one in five chance of housing a fussy eater in your home. What, pray tell are those of us with babies whose teeth have not yet made a much anticipated appearance until after this time to do? Was I doomed from the outset because Mother Nature decided she’d only bless my son with his first fang at 11.5 months old? Not really able to munch on carrot and chops with that disadvantage, I assure you…

Everyone tells me it’s just a phase. And it was heartening at the seminar to learn I am far from alone in living these trying food famine times. But when you have been waging this war for so long, and seemingly failing to make any significant advances on the enemy lines, it begins to feel like a stalemate has evolved. Yes, I admit I am winning some battles but I guess only time will tell when (or if!) I win the war.

7 comments:

Claire Keipert said...

My sister would only eat baby food from the jar and soup for years. She would only eat 4 types of vegies and nothing else. And now.... true foodie who tries absolutely anything. There is hope. Not that this will help now but by the time ash was 9 months she was normally having the same meal as us I just put it through the blender to compensate for lack of teeth. Have discovered that somethings don't blend up into tasty meals- fried rice ends up looking very grey :)

Glowless said...

Oh my, what a battle. I have no advice, no magic cures but I can say stick in there Mumma, you can do it.

Kristy said...

Same thing going on here. My two year old boy eats his own separate meal at night. I wish he would eat our food, I don't know how to make him! So, we are just kind of riding it out until...something...magical happens? Ugh. Here from FYoB!

Elizabeth said...

Hi I found your blog from the hilarious Woogs World so I hope you dont mind a random comment.
My kids are the plainest eaters ever! They were like your son as toddlers and I have no advice because nothing I did worked. They did survive however and my teenager appears to be thriving (still a very plain eater but). This too will pass.

Wanderlust said...

If you figure out the answer, let me know. My 5 and 8 year olds are still very picky. I've been told by family with older children that they will, indeed, grow out of this. Hope springs eternal!

NappyDaze said...

Ah well, nice to know this cuisine conundrum isnt just experienced in our household alone. Hopefully we all get thriving teenages like Elzabeth too!

Loz said...

My youngest is now 17 and she is still fussy after having her tastes pandered to all her life. But she is getting better. Who was it who said, pick the fights you know you can win???