The Pep has always been a picky eater. At the age of two, his diet consisted of waffles, pancakes, chicken nuggets, apples, bananas, bread, pizza crust, maple cookies and milk. We couldn’t get the boy to eat anything else. Over the years, I tried everything. From taking toys away, to making him sit at the table until he took a bite, sending him to bed, to even force feeding, all of which never went well. It always resulted in frustration and on both sides.
Eventually, when he was around four years old, I took him to a doctor. While the Pep had a check-up, I began to express my concerns about his eating habits. This kid won’t eat anything! He’s not getting enough nutrients and protein. I don’t know what else to do except give him what I know he will eat. The doctor’s advice, was that exactly. Give him what he wants to eat so that he does eat. Eventually, said the doctor, he will cycle something new in.
At that point, I had really tried everything. I would let him make his sandwich just to watch him not eat it. (I read that if the child is involved in the preparation, he maybe more prone to eat the meal.) We tried shakes, where he picked the fruit. We took him to the store and let him pick something new. It all ended the same, with the kid refusing to eat and an ocean of his tears. I was exhausted, just as I knew the Pep was. So, with nothing to lose, I took the doctor’s advice.
A couple years went by and a few items were added to his diet, cold cheese, oranges, tortillas, lettuce, broccoli, plain noodles and vanilla ice cream. While being a picky eater isn’t out of the ordinary for young children, I can’t completely complain about the Pep and his eating habits. For the Pep, there was an upside. He was so picky that he didn’t like candy or sweets or the junk that most kids stuff themselves with. The only candies he would eat were smarties and sweet tarts! No chocolate, no hard candy, nothing of the sort! So could I really be upset that he wanted waffles, noodles and chicken nuggets everyday? (And what kid likes broccoli?)
Allowing the Pep to eat what he wanted relieved stress for all of us! Did I listen to ALL the other parents, grandparents, etc. that voiced their 2 cents?! No, I didn’t. I figured (and hoped) that eventually The Pep would grow up and cycle new things into his diet once he realized that the things he liked to eat weren’t as satisfying as they used to be.
Lo and behold, 9 years later, after realizing how hungry he is, the Pep has begun to eat. Slowly he is starting to eat meat and things that could only be dreamed of in the past.
Below is a conversation between the Pep and I on thanksgiving day (A holiday I must confess I enjoy celebrating…. I love feasts!)
M: Here’s your plate Pep, I put one spoon full of everything. You don’t have to like it all, but please just try everything. How can you not like something that you’ve never tasted? (a phrase I’ve said over a million times in his lifetime!)
Pep: Ok Mom.
some time later….
M: Wow Pep, you ate more than half your plate! Did you like the taste?
Pep: Well, I liked the turkey, cranberry, fruit salad, yams, french fried onions, but not the green beans or the potatos so much. Can I have another roll?!
M: Sure. Wow Pep, I’m so proud of you. You’re really growing up, I just can’t believe you’re eating!
Pep: Well, you know Mom, you’re just going to have to get used to it!
[Think I’ll be able to adjust? lol :)]