Peanut is coming up on 14 months, and if her diapers are any indication, her diet is 99% people food. When she poops, we say she’s “ridin’ low and dirty,” because her diaper hangs down from the heavy little turds. It’s funny, but the cloud of P.U. that follows her is not. (Breathe through your mouth if you want to live.)
But I digress.
Meal time at our house is best described as a battle of epic proportions. My Peanut has an opinion on everything food-related, and dammit if she isn’t going to let you know exactly what she doesn’t want. Which is everything.
There exist babies who eat anything in front of them. I think they are an urban myth.
My kid is not only a food snob; she’s also smart about her food snobbery. Say you’re feeding her greek yogurt and you sneak a little piece of pear or scrambled egg onto the spoon. She’ll open her mouth for the bite, but the moment the food hits her tongue, her eyes narrow. She sticks her tongue out like Gene Simmons and lets the offending tidbit roll down her tongue and into her bib’s crumb-catcher.
Every meal includes at least 4 attempted courses and always results in a trashed kitchen. We keep trying things, like they say we should. But she adds foods to her Oh-Hell-No-Mommy list faster than her Sure-I’ll-Eat-That list.
Foods Peanut will eat:
- Greek yogurt (any flavor except plain)
- String cheese
- Applesauce in a pouch (she likes this kind)
- Cottage cheese
- Animal crackers
- Toast with peanut butter (jelly optional)
- Toast with butter and jelly (jelly not optional)
- Club Multigrain crackers
- Prunes (cut into pieces)
- Nutrigrain bars
- Original LIFE cereal
Sadly, this list changes daily. Things that were in her good graces last week are the antichrist today.
Now for the list of what she WON’T eat:
- Anything pureed — if it looks like baby food and isn’t applesauce, it ain’t going anywhere near her
- Mandarin oranges
- Cheese quesadillas
- Grilled cheese
- Grilled ham and cheese
- Ham — sliced or shredded, warm or cold
- Buttered noodles
- Scrambled eggs
- Any cheese that isn’t string cheese
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Grilled potatoes
- Honey Nut Cheerios
(Give me a few days, I’ll have more to add. We’re trying mashed sweet potatoes, avocado chunks, blueberries, and peas this week.)
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve completely lost my patience a few times. One Friday night, with my husband out of town, Peanut and I sat on the kitchen floor and shared a strawberry Chobani, both of us covered in the remnants of her attempted dinner. I sat with my back against the dishwasher and she stood next to me, eating from my big-girl spoon like a baby bird, both of us completely spent from the battle that had just taken place.
The day after that epic parenting fail (at least, I saw it that way), my mom came to visit. I put her in charge of lunch. Every time Peanut did the “Gene Simmons Spit Out,” Mom laughed hysterically. I watched her, and Peanut’s delighted reaction, and realized that I needed an attitude adjustment.
It’s just food. Who cares if she’s not eating a perfect food-pyramid-inspired diet?
She’s getting protein from the yogurt, and calcium from the dairy. She’s getting fruit, even if only in the form of applesauce and raisins. I’m not feeding her McDonald’s french fries or Hostess Blueberry Muffins at every meal. She’s fine. We’re fine.
Other moms can probably give themselves a break pretty easily. I’m still struggling with it. But I will get there. By the time I do, hopefully she’ll be a better eater.
Picky Pants may give up the routine eventually, but if Parenting Karma exists, she won’t. I was never a good eater. Exhibit A: this post, where I ate my very first salad at age 32. Happily, I kept up the rabbit food; I actually had a spinach salad for dinner LAST NIGHT!
My mom is proud.
P.S. — The only member of the family who’s happy about World War Food is the dog. At mealtime, Peanut nonchalantly drapes her arm over the side of the high chair and drops her unwanted dinner right into his mouth. I think he’s gained at least two pounds so far.
P.P.S. — If you have a food we should try for Peanut, please leave it in the comments! We’ll attempt just about anything! 🙂