Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eat My Crust!

We have a picky eater in this house.  His name is Jack and he almost drove us to distraction.  As a baby he ate everything and then slowly from about two years of age on things started to change for the worse.  One by one he eliminated one food after another.  We fought it tooth and nail oh yes we did.  About two years ago we had our last food fight.  I remember it well.

It was roast beef night and after 40 minutes of cajoling, bribing, threatening, time outs, and well you get the idea Jack finally ate one piece of roast beef.  I sat at the counter with him looking at me and me looking at him, both of us hating the other.  Sweat dripped from my brow and tears on his cheek.  I had won, he had eaten the roast beef.

At that moment I realized that instead of triumph I just felt sad.  This was not how I had imagined family meals together.  I had grown up with a picky eater, my brother.  He grew up on yellow mustard and bread, grill cheese made with a very fine layer of cheese whiz, chocolate milk, and sometimes kraft dinner.  I did not want to fight any longer but nor did I want to watch Jack devour loaves of white bread with mustard.

To the internet I went and turns out I had it all wrong.  Forcing your children to eat what they don't want to creates a whole host of other issues.  Better instead to provide healthy choices and trust that they will eat what their body needs.  So I do my best.  I have tried many things...

Pureeing veggies and hiding them in food.  This kid has some sort of veggie sensor and rejected most of these options.  Though Don and I enjoyed eating them!

Offering a choice of foods on his plate and hoping he would one day magically be interested.  This was the least successful.  Everyday as 5:30 came closer the tension would rise in our house as we waited for Jack to pull up to the table only to run away screaming "I hate your dinner" in an ear piercing shriek that cannot be duplicated.

Holding his favored foods hostage, "If you eat this nice carrot you can have this lovely peanut butter sandwich...mmm....mmm."

Now I hate to admit it but I make him something separate if the main meal is something he will not be interested in.  I said I would never do it but he got me.  Picky eaters are picky so this helps us get through a pleasant meal time and I can make sure he is getting something with some nutrition as opposed to just eating a bun every night for dinner.

Anyhow, back to the crust, which of course Jack will not eat.  We had a good laugh the other day at lunch.  Ben gave Jack some good natured ribbing at the lunch table to which Jack responded without missing a beat-

"Eat my crust!"

Yes Jackie, we all have those moments and when we do I think "Eat my crust" is the perfect response.

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