My husband is saying that I am a hypocrite for writing this post. How dare I judge the picky eater? I am one myself. There, I said it. When I was little, I may have even promised my parents that I would eat vegetables when I was 7 in order to get out of eating them. My seventh birthday came and went and I still didn't eat vegetables. I did not happily consume a vegetable until I was 23. Now I can eat tomatoes by the farmer's market bag full.
When Ethan started eating food I was delirious. From his first birthday on, he would eat two scrambled eggs every single day. Yes, I am the best mom ever. Or so I thought until he reached his second birthday and he refused to eat anything that could possibly be construed as healthy or good for you. That and he hated when his food touched. How weird is that (as she looks around guiltily herself). He did eat fruit so that kept me off the pediatrician bad list.
Nathan? Depends on the day. Or the hour. Or the alignment of the planets. Sometimes he'll eat whatever and sometimes he'll eat nothing. He is also not afraid to tell you what you can do with those vegetables.
We have a policy in our house that I make dinner and you either eat it or you do not eat it. Sure they are eating macaroni and cheese every day for lunch but I am making an effort for dinner. These are the new things we are doing around here and they seem to be helping.
1. Let the kids help with dinner. My friend got the kids make-your-own pizza kits for Easter and we made them the other day. First let me say that all you gluten-free people, bless your hearts. Rice flour pizza dough was not as tasty as I thought it would be. But by golly, Ethan ate the entire thing. He seemed slightly more motivated because he had made it himself. The same goes for last night's mashed potatoes that he made himself. I couldn't get the kid to touch mashed potatoes before last night (which makes him really weird. Who doesn't like mashed potatoes???). Even Nate ate them because Ethan made them. Suckers.
2. Sit down at the table to eat. I'm sure you all do this all the time and you are looking at the computer screen like I have lost my mind. Well let's just say I haven't seen the dining room table in months. When we did sit there, it was a nightmare. We started eating dinner at the long kitchen counter and suddenly my kids eat their entire plate of food. They get to eat on tall stools and no one is vying for Dad's lap and screaming. Who know? (Thanks for the tip on that one, Ginny).
3. Don't rule out bribery. Just offer them dessert already. If you are sneaky like me, your kids mistakenly believe that applesauce is a dessert, as are fresh strawberries and blueberries. I'm sure they will figure it out at some point but until then, this is me riding the wave to the shore.
Tell us what you do to make sure your kids eat. It's a judgment-free zone here. All you people that give your kids dinosaur chicken nuggets for breakfast? I know you are out there.