Her turquoise eyes were snapping!
She looked me right in the eye, inches from my face.
“Well then, what WILL he eat?”
My face burned.
My beloved stepmom is a locally renown cook; she’d been feeding my two man-nephews for ten years while they tried to eat the entire town out of house and home. It’s her joy, her gift, and her bragging right. She is a great cook.
She did not blink. Flinch. Or show any emotion.
I felt ashamed. The burning increased.
If you have a picky eater, a sensory kid, or a food-averse child, you know that burning feeling. We’ve lived it more than once, and you have, too.
I felt accused and worried that someone might think less of my wee child.
Food in general left me feeling like a failed mom and even more protective of my picky eater out in the world — even as I negotiated my own frustration about that pickiness.
I was an older mom. The generation before me had their answers: wait them out, don’t give in. The generation after me had their answers: let them graze, give them multiple clean choices. Neither paradigm felt right for us. My kid had been intubated at birth; my kid had a couple of diagnoses; my kid was an awesome miracle. My kid was picky. And still is. But we have a working system around it.
A recent article in the Boston Globe did a great job pondering if picky eaters are made or born. Kids, with too much power, with new diagnoses, with more serotonin receptors in their guts than their brains. Parents, not wanting or affording to waste food, not wanting to struggle in the little time available to families, told by pediatricians as long as the kid eats, it’s ok.
I believe picky eating is normal. Extreme picky eating seems to be on its way to the new normal — for too many diverse reasons to simply choose one. Having control over something in a quickly whirling world, so many delicious available choices, so many processed foods, so many sensory diagnoses, so many anxious parents, so much judgment. There’s biology at play, as well as: family dynamics, working conditions, money, those serotonin receptors, time, wellness and its lack. It is historically emerging.
I believe it doesn’t matter why. Moms in the trenches need a plan and they need it now. We can’t wait for researchers to figure out why picky eaters are on the rise. I have a plan to share, and you can get a taste of it (ha!) by clicking the photo above for 3 free video tips of low-key ways to expose your kids to new foods.
My Parenting Picky Eaters program builds a family culture of curiosity around food. It helps you track what your kid actually eats — it’s almost never as bad as it feels. It’ll give you tricks for sneaking in the good food while you simultaneously expose your kids to new foods and ignite their curiosity about food. You’ll learn the four words that hijack dinner and add some new terms to the conversation. Family traditions, teamwork, and a bonus book-and-movie list round things out.
As always, pop on over to Funnermother on Facebook to see what else we’re up to in the Fun house!