If you know my husband at all, he LOVES Weird Al Yankovic and a certain song comes to mind when dealing w/ “B’s” eating issues (Recorded to the tune of the song “Beat It”):
Don’t want to argue, I don’t want to debate
Don’t want to hear about what kind of food you hate
You won’t get no dessert ’till you clean off your plate
So eat it
Don’t you tell me you’re full
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it…The song continues. If you’re interested, you can look it up on youtube.
The words to this song is criticism we face from people everyday. Heck, before I knew what I was dealing with we tried every parenting trick in the book.
- We bribed
- We forced her to sit @ table until she tried a single grain of rice or one kernel of corn (followed by insane amounts of gagging)
- We put her in time out
- We encouraged and jumped up and down when she did try that one grain of rice
The tantrums that ensued broke our hearts, and we knew we couldn’t continue. I knew in my gut something wasn’t right, but I had nothing to compare it to.
Then, B’s baby sister came along. All of a sudden, we knew what “normal” eating was. At two, her sister is definitely going through the picky stage; however, she also is eating everyday toddler foods like hot dogs, rice, mashed potatoes, cheese, taco meat, goldfish crackers…. The list is endless! Her sister will refuse to EAT veggies, but she will also play w/ them on her plate and touch them without shrinking back in fear. She goes through cycles where one day she won’t touch yogurt, but a week later will eat GoGurt every day.
How do you define picky vs. a food aversion that needs professional help? Lisa Lagrou created a very short yet comprehensive list that spells out the differences between the two. Please check out her article @ Picky Eater or Problem Feeder.
- “B” does not eat anywhere close to 20 foods.
- She used to eat foods like applesauce and plain Cheerios. She has not tried them or re-introduced them into her diet since she was 18 months old.
- “B” avoids foods w/ a lot of different textures. Casseroles, soups, tacos…
- Foods that have a wet consistency are way too overwhelming (applesauce, cheese, musk melon)
The last component of Lisa’s list is key. It takes a problem feeder more than 25 steps to incorporate a new food into their diet. 25 steps people to introduce one new food! That is not being picky! That is a challenging level of homework for a 4.5 year old. I’m so proud of how far she’s come, but we still have a long way to go.