Thursday, January 14, 2010

Picky Eaters

I am sure this will not be the last post with this title.

Most people have images of what they want their children to be like.  Mine?  Well, I didn't care if they were artistic, or athletic, or nerdy, or shy, or outgoing.  There was only one thing I knew.

My children were not going to be picky eaters.

Picky eaters are one of my biggest pet peeves.  I don't care if it is an olive, or  a tomato, or eggs.  It's not going to kill you.  Just eat it.  I understand food allergies.  I understand if there are a couple of foods you just cannot eat.  But picky eaters...the ones who have lists consisting of dozens of things they just don't really like?  Absolutely frustrating.

So I had a plan.  I was going to start early and introduce a wide variety of food to my children.  An array of fruits and vegetables would be found at most meals. And they would like them!

You know what they say about good intentions?  The best laid-plans?  It's all true. 

Bug specializes in picky eating. 

I can't eat that.  It's red!

While he does eat broccoli, spinach, and brussel sprouts without even a whimper (I know! Why am I even complaining?), the list of taboo foods is overwhelming.

No bananas, no oatmeal, no milk on his cereal, no jam, no fruit of any kind, no Italian salad dressing, no beans, nothing mint flavored, no bow-shaped noodles.  Nothing new.  And absolutely nothing that's red.

Every meal is prefaced by the question, "Have I had this before?"  Because I tend to do a lot of improvising in the kitchen, the answer is often "No."

The worst of it is, Monkey isn't a picky eater.  He eats everything.  Literally everything.  Even non-food items.  But he wants to be just like his big brother.  So when he sees Bug refusing a food, he follows suit. 

Bug's biggest nemesis, food-wise, has to be peas.

It may be because I always have bags of  frozen peas in the freezer, and dump them into almost everything I cook as a way to "healthen" the dish. 

Bug despises peas.  He doesn't understand why anyone eats them.  He moans every time we buy them.  There was one occasion where he accidentally ate a snow pea hidden in stir-fry and didn't complain.  I keep bringing that up as evidence that he actually likes peas.  He insists he has no recollection of the event.

The other night, we had pasta with, guess what? Peas.  Bug had finished of his noodles. In the bottom of his bowl were four peas, which by the looks he was giving me, Bug was hoping I hadn't noticed.  Oh, I noticed. 

Eat them, I say.


Hurry, just poke all four on your fork and eat them in one bite.

How about I just eat two?

How about you just eat four? 

Then as a joke, I said, "If you don't hurry and eat them, they'll start making more."

He rolled his eyes at me.

Hubster thought it was hilarious and spend the rest of the meal tossing extra peas into Bug's bowl every time Bug looked away.

It was hard to keep a straight face seeing the consternation on his face when he would muster up enough courage to look at the peas again, only to have five peas, then six, then seven, on his plate.  He finally caught Husbter trying to put the eighth pea in place, at which point we all burst out laughing. 

Okay, I conceded.  "You caught us.  You only have to eat three."

He rolled his eyes at me again.

How about two?

And then I think about how I was never going to have picky eaters for children.  In parenting, you have much less control than you would like to.  Like how well they sleep through the night, and how easy they are to potty train, and how tall they will be.

But I'll take it.  Fights over peas included.


  1. That's really funny!

    I have a short list of food phobias, but if I'm at someone's house and they serve something I don't like I'll eat it anyway because I don't want to offend them...I guess I fail at being a picky eater...

  2. My mom let us each pick one, and ONLY one, food that we were exempted from eating. I picked brussel sprouts. My brother picked lima beans. To this day I won't touch a brussel sprout and he won't touch a lima bean, but we are two of the most adventurous diners you could find.

  3. I had the same feelings about picky eaters.

    And now my child will. not. touch. a vegetable.