Wednesday, February 20

My Strange Child

A few days ago, Deb left a comment regarding her mysticism at my ability to get Alexis to eat healthy stuff like blueberries and raspberries. Oh! how I laughed and laughed and laughed at that comment. The truth of the matter is that I would have better luck telling Britney Spears to wear underwear than I do telling the Toddler what to eat. I long ago recognized that I wasn't going to win the war when it comes to food, so I don't even bother to fight the battles.

I used to fight the battles. In fact, I fought a battle at every single meal for a solid three weeks when Alexis started eating baby food. She was convinced that the only foods she should consume were sweet potatoes, bananas, and banana flavored rice cereal. I was convinced that no child of mine was going to be a picky eater, and for the love of gummy worms, she sure as heck wasn't going to live off three measly types of food. I tried everything: mixing the foods, making them thicker, making them runnier, making them myself, different brands, organic, not organic, you name it. Everywhere we went, it seemed there were little babies that opened their mouths for food like sweet little birds. I would just stare at them, bitter and angry.

Alexis almost never did the little birdy thing. She fought. She screamed. She clamped her mouth shut. On occassion, I would manage to shove a spoonful in when she wasn't paying attention, and she would reward me by spitting it back out, usually spraying the orange goo all over my face or the walls (I still find spots on the dining room walls, over a year later). I made myself absolutely crazy trying to get her to eat something, anything other than those three foods.

I finally saw the light by accident. After about twenty minutes of arguing, fighting, and cajoling, I finally gave up on trying to get her to eat dinner one night. Mr. Husband and I were having pizza for dinner, and frankly I was pissed that my slice of heaven was getting cold while she refused to eat. So, I started chomping on my pizza and left her to just sit in her high chair not eating. I decided I didn't want the crust, so I thrust it towards her and said, "Here, gnaw on this you little brat."

She did.

She ate the whole thing.

By herself.

Without complaining.

The light bulb went on over my head and I started experimenting with other table food. Before you knew it, the kid was eating things I never knew kids would eat. She LOVED (and still loves) Lima beans right out of the can. She will put a hurtin' on a box of faux chicken nuggets. Don't bother with the baby food sweet potoatoes. Just cut up a real one into sticks, throw them in the oven for a while, and then get out of the way as she inhales them. The girl will eat just about anything, if she's in the mood. She just wouldn't eat baby food. So we stopped with the baby food before she was eight months old.

I say she'll eat "just about anything," but really I should say just about anything healthy. I have ZERO concept of how it is that the kid prefers healthy foods, I just know she does. She frequently turns down ice cream, chocolate, and cake, but I have never known her to pass by a package of raspberries without tearing into it (Seriously, I have to let her eat unwashed raspberries in the grocery store if I don't want to listen to her scream and throw a fit the whole time. Normal kids have a heart attack trying to get candy, she saves her energy for the berry aisle.) I am constantly amazed at the number of things that she will eat that both Mr. Husband and I despise. We used to pick tomatoes off of our salads and throw them away. Now I buy her a few every grocery trip so she can have them as a snack. You will not catch Mr. Husband or me eating salad without dressing, but she sits and gnaws on lettuce like she's some kind of rabbit.

I guess we deserve a tiny bit of credit for making it a point to make sure we don't give away our opinions on food, but mostly she gets the credit for being willing to try things. And if she doesn't like something? She'll chew on it for a second, spit it out into her hand, and then use her super-sleuth skills to track me down and smash it into my disgusted hand. She'll throw trash away without being told, but she HAS to tell me "Yucky!" and hand me back her half-chewed food. Clearly, she loves me.

I don't care when she says something is less than spectacular since she gave it a try, but I will offer it again and let her give it another chance. Sometimes she changes her mind (like applesauce--she used to hate it, now she can't go a day without it), sometime she doesn't. Either way, I don't care. She's weird. I get it.

Knowing that she's weird certainly helps on days like today. All she has eaten is a bowl of cereal, half a package of saltine crackers, and some popcorn. I guess she's not hungry, and I'm not worried about it. Tomorrow she's probably go through $20 worth of fresh fruit and vegetables. It's just what she does.

She's very weird.


  1. Alexis would go nuts here in the summer. Hubby grows raspberries in the garden. You should grow her favorites. Blueberries and raspberries are really easy to grow.

    Baby refused jarred food from the start. She's all about real people fruit. Grapes, bananas, apples, you name it. On the flip side Funny had a bowl of Cheerios, a banana, and a cup of milk every morning for breakfast for three years. Refused everything else!

  2. Kids are interesting, aren't they? And why is food such a hot topic with them? Parents (myself included) spaz over every meal.

    I've given up. Micah has lived on nacho chips and Ranch dressing for 2 days now. That's because we're out of hot dogs.

  3. Wow I got a whole post!!! Thanks. Peanut won't even try something new if she doesn't like how it looks. Since weight gain has been an issue in the past it's been somewhat of a concern. But she will eat beans and applesauce and potatoes, so I'm getting some vitamins. She used to not like chocolate but recently she's eating brownies and oreos. Yippee, junk food.

    I watch a little guy right now that won't eat anything BUT what I feed him. He's 13 months old and won't eat anything but cheerios by himself. I'm so sick of eating issues with my kids and the daycare kids. Can I borrow Alexis for a day? I like when they get old enough when you just tell them they have to eat it.

  4. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Wow...consider yourself lucky that your little one will eat all of those whole foods! Won't it be fun to watch her grow up? She's going to be one confident women someday!

  5. You just never know until you try, huh? My youngest eats all kinds of soups that I never even offered to my oldest ones. She'll eat cabbage soup and bordsht!

  6. Ya know, my son is the same way! Give him fruit and he's happy.

  7. That's the one thing I promised myself I would never freak out about is food. We were talking last night trying to figire out what kind of baby food Hope liked most when it finally dawned on us, Hope never really ate baby food. She was all about the people food.

    I don't think she eats as healthy as Alexis does but she does eat well. Thank goodness, one less worry for me!!

  8. She's handing you back the offending food in the hopes that you'll know she doesn't like it and never make her eat it again.

    We STILL fight the food battle with Bubba because all of a sudden everything is YUCKY and I just don't get that. He used to be a good eater. But he's not a sweets eater either. Punkin on the other hand is more like Alexis. She eats (mostly) healthy food and will pretty much eat anything. I just hope I can keep Bubba from influencing her.

  9. She's not weird, she's quirky. Dylan is the opposite - he would eat any kind of baby food I would give him. I was thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have a picky eater. Then along came solid food and now meals are more of a struggle. He'll eat something one day, then the next day refuse it like it is digusting. I don't give him sweets, except on special occasions.

  10. Alexis is just one awesome little gal. That's all there is to it!

    Where can I get me some of those panda glasses?

  11. Anonymous8:09 AM

    My nephew is a fruits and veggies kid, too. He'll bypass all the candy and go for a kiwi or raspberries.

    My kid? She's picky. She doesn't often try new things, but once she does, she usually likes them. Send Alexis to me for a week... maybe she can get Morgan eating new things!!

  12. I say that given you success you might as well drop Britney an e-mail at least trying to get her to put on a pair of panties it's not like it could hurt anything!

  13. Anonymous8:33 AM

    That's a really important lesson to learn, and you learned it faster than most. We felt so guilty for our elder child being a picky eater until we had Benjamin. We did everything the same, but this one eats everything (except, like yours, cookies and candy). They are who they are.

  14. OMG, you're making me cry...


  15. J Boy was exactly like that!
    He refused to eat anything from a spoon...I would just cut up everything we were eating into tiny pieces and he would feed himself...although rather messy!
    But even today, the boy will consume grossly large amounts of broccoli. He LOVES everything...and will eat anything.
    Just goes to show that lazy parenting is worth something!

  16. Anonymous11:28 AM

    I'm not above lying to get food down (tomato? is a "Cherry"), but mine is a pretty good eater. Well, he was until he refused all baby food and had no teeth lived on pickles, bread & ketchup.

  17. Um. I'm jealous. There. I said it.

  18. Nah... not so weird. Aren't we all a little that way?

    And, while we are on subject, since you feel you may have a minimal amount of luck in the area of Britney and underwear- could you at least take a shot at trying to talk some sense in to her??? :)

  19. Mine ate a whole pint of unwashed raspberries in the cart at Walmart just on Sunday. I think the germs help build his immune system.

    Meals at our house can include any of the following:

    - 4 kiwis, peeled and diced


    - three French fries


    - a perfectly balanced meal.

    We just never know what we'll get come dinner time. And even though my kid's on the smaller side, well that's more genetics than his diet, because over all, he's pretty good.

  20. I know what you mean. Boog eats tons of healthy stuff. He likes his fair share of sweets too but sometimes he'll eat stuff I don't even like. My mom is amazed that we feed him things we don't like but hey I want him to have a varied diet, even more so than ours.

  21. You really did do baby-led weaning/feeding without meaning to, didn't you? You weren't kidding!

    I think it's great that the girl knows what she likes and isn't afraid to tell you. And great panda glasses!

  22. You are so right- kids will eat when they are hungry and the food battle is not the one to fight. As long as she is eating healthy food and not candy- let her be. She is TOO cute in that picture.

  23. Well, contrary to my family's belief, I have tried almost everything with my youngest. I do exactly what you did, just throw it on her tray and don't even pay attention. What does she do? Turn up her nose and toss it across the room. Her dad is incredibly picky as well. I swear it is at least partly genetic. My oldest is MUCH more willing to try new foods.

    I also wanted to let you know I left you something on my blog!

    Take Care!

  24. My third did the babyfood rejection thing. He NEVER ate babyfood, but would eat almost anything else. We love ourselves a faux chicken nugget here.

  25. Gavin used to be a good I hear "I don't wanna like it!" if he doesn't like the look of the food (even if he ate it last week). Since I have both a raspberry and a blackberry bush in the backyard, we're going to try berries again this summer.
    Cooper will eat anything I put in his mouth without a complaint. Hopefully he stays that way. :)

  26. Anonymous2:43 PM

    I love having non-fussy, healthy eating toddlers, too. Watch out though; in about a year (if my Monkey is any indication), Alexis will get pickier. Although Monkey is still good on fruits & vegetables, she is starting to bulk at a prior favorite: rice & beans in any form.

    Bun, on the other hand, has to be restrained from inhaling -- literally -- anything and everything on her plate, my plate, Monkey's plate or daddy's plate.

    Count your blessings! (I hear she's smart too!)


  27. Yeah, it's a texture thing. One of mine didn't want anything but smooth baby food then a year later wouldn't eat anything smooth unless it was ice cream. Texture! We want texture! If your kids want to eat or not, eat junk or healthy is all a matter of luck. I believe in not stressing it. They will eat bad a few days then eat a ton of healthy food for a week.