Monday, September 21, 2015

Having a Picky Eater is a Pain in the A$$.

Can I get an Amen?

So Lily started Kindergarten this month. (Hooray!) One day last week she forgot her lunchbox (containing a peanut butter sandwich and a container of grapes, as per usual) in the car. So, she had to eat school lunch.

The lunch ladies proudly informed me that not only did Lily eat her whole lunch, she also asked for a second piece of chicken. (My kids attend the school I work in, so I am kept informed of their every movement by my helpful colleagues. My kids LOVE this.)

I said, "Lily ate chicken?!"

Oh, yes, that's right. She ate a piece of DARK MEAT CHICKEN WITH THE SKIN STILL ON. And, RICE WITH VEGETABLES IN IT.

Why the all caps? Why am I freaking out about chicken?

Because if I had placed that same food in front of her in my home, she would have cried hysterically.

She is a Picky Eater. But only in my house.

This is what happens every night:

I put dinner (homemade, with starch and protein and vegetables, but nothing crazy, no weird sauces, nothing strange looking) on the table.

Daniel starts wolfing his food down before he's finished sitting, and I have to remind him to breath. He's asking for seconds before anyone has started eating. He's probably pushed his plate away or refused to eat something maybe 1/2 a dozen times in 4 years. And THANK GOD. Because:

Lily sees her plate and starts crying.

Almost every night, almost any plate of food.

This summer I had to feed her 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, and after about 3 days of fighting with her I threw in the towel. 5 times a day crying over food is just. too. much.

So this summer Lily ate:

french fries
toast with butter
pasta with butter
peanut butter sandwiches
carrot sticks
hard boiled eggs (only the whites)

It really was incredible. I think that she may be one of those people who doesn't care about food.


And it's really strange to have one of those people in my family because I'm not even friends with people who don't food!

and ring pops. She loves ring pops


She's healthy. She's strong and she's tough and she runs fast and her cheeks are rosy. Somehow the toast with butter and the fruit is working for her. But God help me, her picky eating is a pain in my a$$.

First of all, I'm a good cook. So as much as I try not to take it personally, it's hard not to. Especially when she asks for a 2nd piece of school lunch chicken. Which is definitely not organic.

Secondly, it's hard to plan meals. I don't want to spoil her; I want to gradually increase the variety of foods she enjoys, but I also don't want so much drama and crying at dinner. I mean, I'm trying to eat! So I end up curtailing our menus a bit to try to include things she likes. So, we eat a lot of bacon, hard boiled eggs and pasta or bread.  I have this image in my head of our happy family happily eating dinner and all of our plates have the same food on them.  This rarely happens. Usually Daniel has the same thing as Andrew and I, with lots of salsa on top. And Lily has all of the white, plain elements and a side of carrot sticks.

Thirdly, eating out is so difficult. She will eat exactly one thing on a traditional Ethiopian plate, and not much of it.  French fries are available everywhere of course, but they are so unhealthy! And having to pay $7 for a plate of buttered pasta just irks me. So, we eat a lot of pizza. At least we are all enjoying the same thing!

Lily, in 20 years, I hope you have a healthy appetite and aren't one of those people who can't order off the adult menu. If you are still eating buttered pasta when you are grown up...

Until then, I will pour myself another glass of wine and grit my teeth before setting down the tear-inducing food.

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