I’ve been frustrated by my kids’ picky eating for years. But I think I’ve had an epiphany.
I just remembered how my appetite changed while I was pregnant.
I, who had never been picky, suddenly became intensely opinionated about my food. I craved certain foods while others were downright repugnant, and I had a dramatic, involuntary reaction when faced with those foods (I made faces, wrinkled my nose, gagged).
It was temporary. I eventually returned to my food-loving ways, albeit, with different preferences.
Watching my kids’ tastes change over the years, and experiencing how profoundly hormones affect one’s appetite, it has FINALLY dawned on me that my griping about their pickiness has essentially been me barking up the wrong tree. Worse, turning something into a fight when perhaps it was just a developmental stage. I’m thinking how terrible I would have felt if someone had yelled at pregnant me for craving tuna salad or gagging at the smell of vinegar.
My kids are s-l-o-w-l-y learning to accept and like new foods. Not at the pace I would like, but it’s happening. My plan now is to just keep cooking. Just keep putting the food on the table. Just keep eating. Just keep enjoying meals with my kids. And trust that they will eventually do the same.
And remember that our time at the table together is also temporary.
I’ve subscribed to Ellyn Satter’s “division of responsibility in feeding” for years…in theory. But where the rubber meets the road — at the dinner table — I was cajoling and yelling and moping and guilting doing the exact opposite. It’s only taken me YEARS to figure this out (and admit it).
If you need some guidance, my two favorite reads about feeding picky kids are Ms. Satter’s Child of Mine and Dina Rose’s It’s Not About the Broccoli. Both are full of good sense, respectful of parents and children, and grounded in the real world.