Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learning From My Picky Eater


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When my son was between 2 and 3 years of age, his palate impressed me and this was something I was so grateful for.  He loved cheeses just like his Mommy.  His favorite sandwich was havarti cheese with basil.  He also did not complain and even asked for more when during breakfast, I would let him have a bite of my toast with my favorite Boursin cheese with garlic and fine herbs.  I thought it would turn him off considering how strong the flavors are (especially for a toddler) but he enjoyed it and it made me proud.  He also ate eggs and scrambled and hardboiled were his favorites.  So, pretty much he ate most anything except of course those with strong non-kid friendly flavors.  I would’ve loved for him to love cilantro but I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic.  Still, generally, feeding him then was quite easy.

Something happened at some point because by the time he turned 4, he wouldn’t touch cheese and doesn’t want to have anything to do with anything that has cheese in it…no cheese sandwich, no mac‘n’cheese, no pizza, no cheeseburger.  He also refuses to eat eggs regardless of the way it’s cooked and it’s driving me insane!  It frustrates and disappoints me because I really thought feeding him would be even easier as he ages; that as his palate matures, I would be able to train him more and introduce more complex flavors.  Maybe I expected too much but the fact remains that I don’t understand how he changed just like that, making it doubly hard to feed him!

And that’s when it hit me.  To put it in simple terms, what happened was that he changed his mind.  That’s all.  And the reason it upsets me, the main reason I find myself thrust into ‘pissosity’ zone when I now feed him and he says ‘no’, is because it’s an inconvenience.  His change of mind (or heart, or palate) is inconvenient for me.  I’m getting upset because I’m forced to find other things to feed him and be more creative with feeding him.  He’s not always picky and he consumes different things from the major food groups.  Medically, he is ‘healthy’ and thriving.  So really my getting upset is because he is not behaving the way I want him to and as a result, I am left with nothing but to adjust. 

In relationships, people are allowed to change their minds.  They can change their habits, preferences, and even the way they feel about us.  One day we are loved, the next day it's all over.  The timing may be all wrong for us, may be inconvenient, but they are entitled to that.  We don’t know when, how, or if it will ever happen, when a change of heart will strike.  So instead of worrying about others changing their minds, the real focus should be on ourselves and how we will conduct our lives amidst all these changes, actual or potential.  In truth, we can really only worry about our selves because it makes no sense worrying about anything that you have no control over.  




15 comments:

  1. The preferences of both my daughters changed as the got older too. Then - finally - all the pickiness went away, and today I'm much pickier than they are.

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  2. I am VERY familiar with this phenomenon. When they get older they will act like you're crazy when you put in front of them something that up until an hour ago was their favorite dish in the whole entire world. When you point this out to them, they will deny with indignation that they have NEVER in their life liked grilled cheese or egg sald or whatever it is. It happens to me all the time, and they act like I'M the one who has lost her mind? Ha! :-) ~ Lala ~

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  3. Joy, this could be my daughter! At 2 she would eat anything, at 4 practically nothing would appeal to her palate. Now a gorgeous 24 she is back to phase 1 (with a biological conscience though). There is hope yet!
    And I remember well that feeling of it being inconvenient for me.
    But without different palates, minds and opinions our world would be poorer! Long live the difference!
    Thanks for sharing, Barbara

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  4. :-)  Good perspective though!

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  5. That is interesting that despite everything you have done, he is suddenly a picky eater.  Great analogy about life and relationships though.

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  6. I wish my kids would learn that what I feed them is good for them and that they do like it and that I'm the mommy so I'm the one in control.  Except of course these little people have minds of their own....dang it!

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  7. I have given up understanding what my little ones like. One week they have cheese, the other they don't like it anymore. It just keeps changing. I have had to learn not to worry and to go with the flow!

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  8. My niece (on hubby's side) is 11 years old and pretty much eats nothing but salty snacks, corn, cookies and the obligatory chicken nuggets. At a family function recently, another sister in law tried to get niece to eat some fruit salsa she had made. Niece's mother answered for her saying, " a piece of fruit has never passed her lips". Hubby and I were floored! How can she have never eaten fruit at 11 years old! That is taking picky to new heights.

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  9. Wow, I suddenly feel so grateful and think I don't have any right to complain about Noah, hehehe...Thanks Lalia!

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  10. True, good point Barbara!  Thanks for that :-)

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  11. It's so funny because one of my sons is just like me, he will love something one day and the next day will never eat it again. But it is my first child that drove me crazy with his picky eating ways. I got the best advice from our first peditrician who told me it was my job to put out three balanced meals and his job to eat them or not. That always made me feel better about allowing him to choose. It really is such a personal thing, that I do want to stay out of it as much as possible. It does however still make my day when he eats something that may have possibly touched a vegetable on a plate, which is about as close to a veggie that he has come since he was a baby!! Thanks for another great piece!!

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  12. Like the others I too am very familiar with this phenomenon. My girls were great eaters when they were young and would eat almost anything. As they got older they changed eating a smaller and smaller variety of foods.
    I certainly agree with your conclusions. Generally, change is all around us and the challenge for us is how we adapt as we are powerless to stop the change.

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  13. My grandson (now 8) was a very picky eater when he was much younger. He would only want to eat a few different foods and nothing else. Eventually, my wife and I would (when we baby sat him) offer him food that we knew he liked. It's many years ago, but as best I can recall, for example, we gave him small pieces of TURKEY in his rice (he loved CHICKEN and rice), and told him it was chicken. He liked it. We would occasionally put little pieces of carrot in his rice and he liked that, too. We had him try broccoli many times, and eventually he came to like it. So it was not always macaroni and cheese & chicken and rice & either milk or water. I cannot pinpoint when the change occurred, but he is much more willing now to try different foods -- not every food we offer him (we still baby sit him about once every week or two), but at least sometimes he will try something different. Me, I will eat anything -- except chocolate meat and balut! LOL.

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  14. Mike B: Awww too bad!!...no 'chocolate meat' (or Dinuguan, as we call it)??!! Hahahaha....Oh and don't worry. I don't eat balut too...Well actually I do but not the entire thing....can't bear to eat the 'embryo'....eeeekkk!

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  15. I did try dinuguan once, and I just could not stomach it (no pun intended). It just did not taste good to me. In fact, it tasted bad. That was the first and last time I had dinuguan. As for balut, the very idea turned me off, and I did not have the courage to try it. However, I will say that last year, in a Chinese restaurant in Metro Manila, I ate frogs legs and fish lips for the first time. The fish lips were OK. The frogs legs were really good (tasted a little bit like chicken to me).

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