Posted: Friday, October 17th, 2008
At Whiz’s six year well visit I finally got brave enough to tell my pediatrician the truth. I’ve ruined my two precious children.
Are they bright, well-mannered, happy, healthy and sparkly kids? Well, yes.
But they’re also the two pickiest eaters on the planet. And it’s starting to drive me insane – and to embarrass me. When we go to friends’ houses for meals I have to explain that my kids won’t be partaking in the lovely meal they’ve prepared because they eat no meat, only raw fruits and vegetables, and single ingredient main course selections like pasta or cheese. The good news is that the things they will eat are pretty good for them and net out to a relatively healthy diet. The problem is that if something looks or smells the tiniest bit different than the items on their short list of approved foods, they both summarily turn up their noses, declare it ‘yucky’, and refuse to eat it (or anything that’s touched it of course). And I have enabled their insanity by serving as a short-order-chef. Not only do I almost always make two dinners (one for grown-ups and one for kids), but I also frequently make three dinners (one for grown-ups, one for Speed, one for Whiz). RIDICULOUS right?!?!My pediatrician agreed and declared that it’s time to start playing hard ball with my little darlings. He said “When they were younger, it was your job to do whatever it took to get good food in them. But not anymore. Now it’s your job to present them with a healthy meal and it’s their job to eat it. No options. No alternatives. It’s ‘eat what our family is having for dinner or go to bed hungry’ time. Kids in Bangladesh will eat whatever you put in front of them. You know why? They’re hungry. It’s time to ‘go Bangladesh’ on Speed and Whiz.”
Gulp. Speed, Whiz and I sat wide eyed and silent for a few moments.
“Really? I said, “So, no toast if they don’t like what we’re having?”
“Nope” he said relentlessly.
“No yogurt?” I asked hopefully, “even if they get it themselves and I don’t have to do a thing?”
“Nope” he said. I was starting to regret ever bringing the subject up to him. Like most moms I guess, I’m allergic to the idea of putting my kids to bed hungry. They’re already the skinniest kids on the block…how do I go to sleep at night knowing they’re getting skinnier because of my policy?!?
But, I’m going to give it a try. And I’d love your help! I know most of you come to Education.com to find advice, not to give it but….Please leave comments with your ideas for how to mend a couple of picky eaters. Have you “gone Bangladesh” on your kids? Did you have a softer, but as effective, way of getting your kids to eat new foods? Put all your ideas in a comment. I have a really cool game / plate set called “Play with your Food” that I’ll send to one commenter (chosen at random). Make sure you include your email address on the comment form so I can contact you for shipping info if you win.