The Imperfect Parent - My Kid Lives On Crackers and Milk!
Frustrating is the nice way of putting it when I describe meals with my 3 1/2 year old.
Do you have a "picky" eater?
You start to wonder if you are failing at this whole parenting thing. You feel like everyone is judging you.
I can't tell you how many blog posts and expert articles I have read about feeding a picky eater. They pretty much all tell you what your kid should be eating, and tricks for how to get them to eat veggies and fruit.
I get it, I understand why it works with some kids...but just because it worked for you, it doesn't mean my kid will react the same.
In the past, I have hidden veggies in other dishes, but trust me, kids figure it out and then refuse to eat something they may have always eaten previously. That one time you grated a carrot or mashed peas into his pancakes ruined pancakes FOREVER!! Do Not try to trick them into it. They are more stubborn than you will ever be, and it is not a battle you want to start.
Clayton has never enjoyed vegetables, not even all the fresh pureed stuff I made for him when he was a baby! Our doctor told us that as long as he is growing and gaining weight, not to worry. She did say to introduce a multivitamin if we were worried he was missing anything, but that could be a whole other blog post (what vitamin? how to find the right one, what to include and what to avoid?....another post for another time!)
What he does love is dairy...milk, yogurt (no chunks, of course), sometimes cheese.
We should just buy a cow and have it in the back yard if I could learn to make yogurt, cheese and pasteurize milk, we would be all set!
I am realizing my older child (13 years old) was an easy child to feed. He would at least try everything we put in front of him. Not Clayton, he is stubborn.
Come next Fall, Clayton will be headed to kindergarten. I have mixed emotions about him starting school. Of course, as every other parent out there, I think he is growing way too quickly, and can't believe the time flew by so fast, but as I pack lunches these days, I wonder what on Earth I will send him to school with.
Then there is the question of being judged. Is his lunch going to "pass" with the school? Will I be scolded for my choices of what to feed him. I am not talking french fries and onion rings here, I am concerned the few things I can get him to eat will not pass for nutritious enough or enough variety to please those judging my choices.
There's a whole world of debate going on about parents being scolded and lunches being confiscated for having a granola bar, cookie or crackers in it. It's been happening here, as I have had friends tell me that they had food taken from their children.
So, Clayton, my picky eater...Will he eat anything? How can I make everything look plain enough for him? It will need to have no chunks or colour variations, no crunchy bits and most certainly cannot be touching other foods, in order to satisfy him.
What will the teacher think if I send the same thing every day, or if he refuses to eat everything? Maybe by next year, he will have a few more things he enjoys. One never knows!
This is bound to draw some naysayers and definitely lots of "advice" from the perfect parents out there, but as you can see from my title, I am an "imperfect" parent, and that is not likely to change.
I have decided I am not going to stress about it anymore.
So, as of right now, we feed him what he likes, offering other things, but not stressing out with every "I don't like that." That is his reply to EVERYTHING, even if it is something we have never made or offered before. There are occasional "wins". He will usually eat a cheese sandwich....so yesterday, I made a "grilled cheese" sandwich. Guess what? He loved it! We also made pita pizzas this week and let him decorate it with sauce, pepperoni, and cheese, and he ate the entire thing. These are the wins this week.
Don't think I have not tried, we have made smoothies, tried pureed veggies added to dishes and tried a myriad of muffins, he won't touch any of it. Not even a bit, lick or smell of most food.
We will keep trying, but we will no longer stress. We are not perfect, our kids are not perfect and I challenge you to find me a family that is.
Someday I hope for a veggie loving child, but for now, I am happy if he eats something with any nutritional value.
So for the other moms and dads out there who are stressed about this, I want you to know it is okay. I feel for you, and I stand beside you. No judging from me. You do not need to starve your child to get them to eat the "good" food. You do not need to try to trick them into eating veggies in the macaroni, or make them swallow another pediatric drink full of vitamins. It will come, they will see you are no longer stressed and their constant "I don't like that" does not garner the same attention it used to....and they WILL try something new.
Parenting is tough and we all tend to be harder on ourselves than we should be. We live in a stress driven, fast-paced and judgmental world. So, just know, I am in your corner. We can all do things differently and still raise happy, healthy and positive children.
Have a great day and happy parenting!
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