On vacation, salmon for dinner. Dogs for the kids. We’re surrounded by amazing garden produce — afternoon snack, I wasn’t there, and they say “I’m hungry.” That phrase does drive me nuts. I’ve explained to the Things that it’s just a declaration, and articulating your feelings is usually a good thing. But behind it is the unspoken part — I’m making my hunger YOUR problem.
Regular readers know we have a family member who simply doesn’t believe in picky eating. It shouldn’t exist or be tolerated. Especially during happy hour, haha. They found me, wisps of smoke coming out of their ears.
“I’ve offered him everything in the frigging house!”
I couldn’t ignore it any more. Picky eating reared its ugly head. Again.
At first it feels like a normal fluctuation, but it keeps moving, changing… then something forces you to see — a sea change is happening! You think something has been handled once and for all, but it shifts and returns. At 13, Thing 1 is changing, he’s taller than me suddenly, and I hear changes in his voice. Middle school social life is raucous and sometimes cruel — he seems to have opted out of it, for better and worse.
Thing 1 and I do talk about picky eating: years ago he said he wouldn’t eat anything that looked like vomit: stews, goulashes, lasagna, etc. If you look for it, it’s everywhere!
Recently I learned that if we cook, say, button mushrooms (which he dislikes) with Portabella mushrooms (which he loved), it ruins his fondness for Portabellas. Okay. Also, his teeth and the roof of his mouth are sensitive, so he is wary of sharp tortilla chips and steaming hot pizza cheese (and his sister complains that he eats these noisily).
Click to tweet: I worked out a system with him: my Parenting Picky Eaters course. It stopped working. So we are doing it again!
And here’s the awesome part… it’s okay! Once we got home — and I realized our previous agreements had an expiration date, it was all okay. It now takes two of us to track what my elder eats, and it’s a real exercise in … intimacy to make space for him to be honest about school and snacks without punishment. He’s 13.
But we have a process, he knows the process, and it’s clear that we are problem-solving together. The outcome is already shaping up — a workable series of agreements and choices, and believe it or not, I welcome this project for us to do together at this time that he’s maturing away from his mama — funner or not.
If you have a picky eater, sign up for my free newsletter and look forward to problem-solving tips for picky eaters, new school or anxious kids, right HERE.