Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What would Alex eat?

Kids are funny. We all have our, "my kid loves xxxx" story.
Alex is an ok eater. For years he seemed to on subsist on bottles alone. Even now he would happily limit his diet to Cheerios (Trader O's to be precise) with milk and strawberries. On the side. I let him eat that pretty often as while I prefer he eat "grown up" meals, oats, milk and berries are a pretty healthy meal. He does eat lots of other stuff but he still loves most things dairy. And he reflexively doesn't like to try new things if I suggest them, which makes me insane. Lately though, he has gotten really into pea shoots. I buy them for myself, and didn't even imagine offering them to him but he was intrigued by their shape and asked to try them. So now, I make his favorite sandwich of cream cheese and American cheese (my idea for some dumb reason - I was trying to use something up) with some pea shoots on it too. He says they don't taste like anything they just make the sandwich crunchy. Fair enough. Really he prefers them plain and messy: trying to stuff the long unwieldy shoots into his little mouth. He loves making a mess with them as they bounce along the sides of his mouth and fall back onto the plate, table, his lap and sometimes the floor. Kind of like Cookie Monster. It kind of annoys me and then I think, "he's eating pea shoots!!!"

The other day he decided this weird experimental sauce I made with lentils, pepitas and olive oil was the best thing he ever tasted. I found it kind of flavorless actually. I tried to serve it a second time and he was bored by it. But I take his glimmer of open-mindedness, and, dare I say, curiosity about new foods as a good sign. He still can put up quite a fight, especially when he is out playing soccer until basically bed time and he comes in exhausted, cranky and too hungry to function. Um, that is pretty often since World Cup started...

If you are still struggling with a picky toddler...don't take it too seriously. You have so many meals ahead of you. It will get better - probably starting around age 4 and improving over time from there. It takes an enormous amount of work and often struggle. It's frustrating and infuriating. It takes a ridiculous number of years. But over the course of many years, kids can become healthy eaters. My kids are still junk food junkies, and they still argue for the sake of arguing sometimes. I wonder if I never pushed the veggies at all - would Alex have been curious about pea shoots anyway? Perhaps! I often think parenting techniques for young kids are just stalling tactics until the kid grows out of whatever egregious habit is making the parent crazy. But in this case, I kind of doubt it. I think all those carrots, and broccoli did make veggies seem normal. Either way, I'm glad he likes the little crunchy sticks!

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