I’m so frustrated. Someone PLEASE tell me how to get my child to eat right. Pretty, pretty please!
From the very beginning, I’ve tried to do everything “right.” And for awhile it worked. E.’s very first non-breast milk, non-rice cereal food was sweet potatoes and she LOVED them. And I made them — and all of her baby food. And her first finger food? Peas, glorious, peas.
My baby loved her veggies so much that she would refuse fruit in favor of veggies. And I was so cocky. “Oh, it’s so easy to get kids to eat right. You just have to start from the beginning.” Ha! What do you know you dumb ass?
The older she got, the more foods we introduced. I couldn’t wait for her to get over a year to start expanding her diet even more. By 18 months, our baby had pho, curry, chana masala, miso soup, veggie loaded marinara sauce and more — and she loved it all.
But then, almost overnight, it stopped sometime around 2. I thought it was a stage, but here we are, at age 3 1/2 and her diet is basically down to:
- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- almost any fruit
- string cheese
- yogurt squeezers
- spaghetti (butter and cheese only)
- shredded chicken and turkey
- Annie’s organic gummy bunnies
- And yes, of course, chicken nuggets
And I’m losing my mind. I can’t tell you how many hours I spend scouring the Internet trying to find recipes that might appeal to her. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve tried bribing, threatening and more — and nothing works.
She also helps me cook all the time. Isn’t that supposed to make kids excited about eating? Only once has that paid off when she mysteriously decided she loved kale chips and carrots after helping me clean up and prepare a bunch of veggies our friends brought us from their school’s garden.
Oh yes, but that evening ended with her puking up all the carrots.
At this point, I think she’s just refusing new foods to be a contrarian. Take tonight, for example. I thought I hit the jackpot when I saw Mama Pea post a recipe for Noodle Salad With Peanut Mmmm Sauce. I mean, c’mon, it combined three of her favorite things — spaghetti, peanut butter and edamame. It’s got to be a winner right? And just look how delicious this looked.
I even caved to her pickiness and didn’t put the red peppers and bok choy in her bowl. There should have been no reason for her not to eat this. But she wouldn’t. Not at all. She ate one of the beans and spit it out. Same with the spaghetti. She said to me, “Mommy, I don’t like orange spaghetti.” What about this is orange?
DadJovi was still at work and after my single parent weekend, I just couldn’t even deal. So I did what DadJovi always tells me I can’t do — I gave her another dinner. Spaghetti with butter and cheese it is. And for the moment, she was pleased with herself.
I give up. I mean, she eats good, balanced meals for breakfast and lunch. Should I just give up on dinner? Do I become a short-order cook and prepare foods for her I know she’ll eat? Or is it eat what we eat or nothing?
Everyone I ask or every book I read offers a different opinion and approach.
I’m just tired of the fights. Tired of the crying. And tired of spending so much time searching for meals with her specifically in mind and preparing these meals when she won’t even touch them.
Am I doomed to a picky eater? Does it get better??