You know how before you had kids, you pretty much knew what you were going to do, and you DEFINITELY knew what you weren’t going to do? Don’t you want to flick your old self in the forehead sometimes? Ok, well at least I do.
Prior to becoming a parent, I’d had many forehead-flickable thoughts. One in particular snapped me right in between the brows last week.
“My kids will eat what they’re given. I will not tolerate them being as picky as I was. If they don’t have another choice, they’ll eventually eat. Toddler pickiness is a result of parents giving in to their every whim.”
I just want to pat my old self on the head and say,
My son used to eat pretty much anything we gave him. Then, all of a sudden, he turned one. Avocados were now gross. So were sweet potatoes. And turkey (but only sometimes). And quinoa. And broccoli. Pretty much all of the healthy stuff I smugly fed my happily accepting kid.
Now what was I supposed to do? He would stubbornly go without dinner before eating my bean and quinoa stuffed peppers (which, if I say so, are pretty fabulous). William is a little string bean as it is, and when it came down to it I just couldn’t let him cry and cry because he was hungry. I’ve never been a cry-it-out type of parent, and it didn’t sit right with my gut to make an exception for this circumstance.
You want chicken nuggets? Looks like I’m making two dinners. Obsessed with applesauce? So be it. Sigh. Defeat. At least you’re getting nourishment.
Now, meals start out with everybody being served the same thing. He has to give it a chance, and when he (often) refuses, out comes a William-friendly alternative. Maybe I’m weak. Perhaps it is all my fault (probably). But I will say it’s certainly not as cut and dry as pre-kid me naively assumed.
Last week, as my husband and I were eating our salmon patties and noodles, William was happily eating his chicken nuggets. Out of the blue, he started frantically gesturing at the raw carrots I was also eating. I skeptically gave him one. He scarfed it down and bellowed for more. What the what? I try to feed this kid vegetables all the time. It doesn’t often progress much farther than a few (tricked into) bites. William tossed his chicken nuggets to the dog and finished his meal exclusively with baby carrots. Just when I think I know what to expect from this little guy, he throws me for a loop.
Chicken effing nuggets, man.
Written by Kelsey Pieber