Monday, September 6, 2010

Anatomy of a Toddler Appetite



I have the world’s pickiest eater. While many parents around the world hold claim to this notion, I can honestly say, my son wins the prize. I know most picky toddlers turn their nose up to broccoli, spinach and most anything else green and healthy. But how about turning away pizza, cookies, candy, cake and juice? No, I’m not complaining, it’s just I cannot believe sometimes that this child and I carry the same DNA.

My son is on what I refer to as “The White Diet.” He will eat bread, bread with cheese, macaroni, macaroni with cheese, crackers, crackers with cheese … do you see where I am going? I did get smart and try cauliflower with cheese, but it appears my child is a genius.

There are other “white foods” I can get him to eat occasionally: chicken nuggets, fries, scrambled eggs (with cheese of course), waffles, light colored yogurt and cheerios. Bananas were on the list for a while, but have sadly dropped off. Hummus was good, but the subsequent rash took that food item right off the list as well. Daddy’s pancakes, of course, are a favorite. I wonder how many ‘secret’ ingredients we can hide in the pancakes until my son catches on.

Over the past six months, there was a glimmer of hope as my son welcomed a few of “the reds” into his diet, namely ketchup, hotdogs and watermelon. I tried to pawn off some of my cherry tomato stash on him, but that was a complete failure.

Do I worry? Not really. I would rather my son eat something he likes than nothing at all, and miraculously, he does like his daily vitamin. I get plenty of unsolicited advice about my son’s diet including the ever popular “Just give him what the rest of the family is eating for that meal and when he gets hungry enough he will eat it.” Not true, but, I politely smile and act as if I never thought of that one myself.

Yes, I am one of those parents who fixes a separate meal for my child. I go even farther than that – I ask my child what he wants to eat for his meal. Why do I do this? Well, my almost thirteen year old just hit 6’2” tall. You can imagine what my food bills look like. I really do not want to waste food these days.

Of course, there are days, when even asking does no good. This morning was a perfect example, and the inspiration for this blog post:

Me: “What do you want for breakfast?”
C: (with a definite tone in his voice) “Bagel & cream cheese!” followed by “I don’t think I like this anymore,” after I present ½ a bagel to him on his favorite Scooby Doo plate. He looks at me sweetly and asks, “How about a blueberry waffle?”

Having had only two sips of my coffee, I realize I am not up for a debate and pop a waffle into the toaster. Seconds later I hear his little voice say, “Wait a minute, I do like bagel and cream cheese.” Sigh.

In the end, he ate both the waffle and the bagel, and I was able to finish my coffee in peace.

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