- Picky eating is a pet peeve of mine.
- I've been pleasantly surprised at how "chill" of a parent I've been.
I honestly can't remember if I referred to Kate as a "good eater" in her first few months of solids a year ago. I don't recall any major issues. (A quick look in the blog archive indicates that at Thanksgiving, she ate all table food, including turkey, peas, carrots, mashed potatoes, and a roll.) Somewhere beyond that point, though, her dietary repertoire narrowed considerably. Now, she literally won't touch a vegetable, and rarely eats meat or other proteins. It's pretty much all fruit, dairy, and carbs. So that's the pickiness that concerns me some.
Regarding the "chill" factor, I certainly don't mean that I'm trying to be a "cool" parent who doesn't lay down the law. I just mean that as a Type-A who, in most areas of life, gets bent out of shape when something doesn't go as planned, I expected to be more high-strung as a parent. I've been pleasantly surprised that I can keep my cool when Kate is upset, not caving to tantrums and not turning general toddler obstinence into a power struggle. I guess my definition of "chill" would simply be a happy medium between being a pushover and freaking out about every little thing. Sometimes, that line is harder to walk than others.
I am really trying not to get worked up over this pickiness. She's growing fine, and from some cursory research, I think the fruits she eats provide most of the same nutrients as vegetables. It doesn't seem to be a health concern, so I'm trying to roll with it and assume it will pass. But what if it doesn't? I really don't want her to get into this habit of picky eating.
I've read that it can take many exposures to a food before a kid will try something, so I always give her some of whatever we're eating, in addition to one or two things that I know she'll eat. But, she just eats the berries or cheese and leaves the meat, rice, peas, etc. I've tried going back to baby-food veggies, with the thought that since she likes yogurt, maybe she'd go for that. Alas, no. (But I did stir half a container of Gerber mixed veggies into our mashed potatoes the other night, and that was a success!)
I guess the experts would say to simply not give her anything that's not on the menu and eventually she'll get hungry enough and eat. She never seems to care that much about eating, though, so I think it would be quite a while before she got "hungry enough" to actually sit and eat dinner.
Actually, she's been reluctant to sit in her eat-seat at all lately, and if she's going to eat at all, wants to sit on my lap while doing it. I've been torn over how strict to get with that too, because I'd rather her sit on my lap and eat something than spend dinnertime Houdini-ing herself out of her seat and refusing to eat. For a while, she was in the habit of standing in her seat to eat breakfast, and I finally decided to lay down the law (after wiping dripped yogurt off her shoe several times in one sitting). So now she's usually sitting down for breakfast, but for dinner, she'll stand in her seat until I'm done dishing things up for Matt and I, then she'll push her plate over to my place and climb into my chair. I don't really fight it because I'm picking my battles and focusing on the food for now.
Do you think she'll get over it on her own? Or should I starve her into submission? (I'm exaggerating there, clearly.)
What would you suggest?