Big Boy starts school in the fall. Thankfully I am not one of the parents that has to scramble to toilet train their child before school starts. I am, however, waging a constant battle with him and what he eats. Right now he can be relied on to eat only a handful of foods, most of which are completely unreasonable to send to school in his lunch pail.
We have managed to convince him to try some new things (simple things like applesauce for crying out loud!) and he will sometimes be quite willing…until the food actually approaches his mouth. Then he starts to gag (and has only recently learned how to stop himself from throwing up) and cry. He will then usually be unable to continue with the part of the meal that he actually enjoys.
I read every article I come across about picky eaters and getting kids to like food but none of them really apply to a kid who won’t even let the food get near his mouth!
One article said to substitute sweet potato when you do mashed potato. Good idea, assuming your kid eats mashed potato. Mine doesn’t.
Another book said to let your kids help prepare the food so they have an investment in it. I let him help make scrambled egg, cracking the egg was amazing, stirring it was super fun, eating it was not an option. The hand went over the mouth, tears filled his eyes and he ran away.
I am not someone who is comfortable in the kitchen. I don’t do fancy foods, vegetables are something that I have to force myself to eat because I know they’re good for me and for a long time I didn’t even like chicken (I still have a thing about bones in my food, I don’t do chicken wings and even a T-bone steak makes me pause!) Obviously my food choices have had an impact on my children, I knew that they would but didn’t really think too much about it since my favourite foods are usually what are considered “kid” foods. I’m a fan of chicken nuggets and fries, hot dogs, Hamburger Helper, pizza and Zoodles. The only things on that list that my kids will eat are the fries and pizza.
Last week I was checking out the App Store on my iPad while he looked over my shoulder and we spotted Minecraft. He’s watched so much of it on YouTube that I was really tempted to buy it for him but the $7 price tag kind of slowed me down.
This morning he started before 7:00am asking to play Minecraft. I explained that we didn’t own the game and his response was, “Just put your letters into the iPad and we can get it!” Thankfully he doesn’t know my password! He went back and forth between his daddy and I asking each of us in turn to get it for him. Seeing how I had always planned to buy it but didn’t know when I figured that he could work for it and hopefully kill two birds with one stone!
Above is the list we made of foods that he has to try. Once he gets five stickers on the list I told him that we would get the silly game. He was all excited to try and picked Cereal as his first conquest. I didn’t even make it very hard for him, the cereal that we had handy was Fruit Loops! (I really love Fruit Loops and have had them in the house for my personal enjoyment for years!)
I let him pick his own bowl and spoon, showed him how to pour the cereal into his bowl and then went to get milk for him. Both he and this brother declined the milk so I put it away and sat down with them to see what would happen. Little Man loves cereal and willingly went at it with a vengeance and maybe that helped the big one. He didn’t eat many but declared them to be “yummy” so I gave him a sticker.
After his early success with the cereal he wanted to give the applesauce a try so I put some in a little bowl and gave it to him. He was hesitant about putting his spoon into it at first, he just kept dunking his spoon in and pulling it out for a while but then he actually scooped some out. It came within 6″ of his mouth and he broke down in tears.
I didn’t want to force him so I quickly moved it out of sight, dried his tears and tried to get him to have some more cereal. Not happening.
So now he’s back to watching StampyCat play Minecraft and seems happy about it. I don’t know how we’ll get him past this gagging thing with food. His doctor says, “You can’t make kids poop and you can’t make them eat” Medically there is nothing wrong with Big Boy so the doctor’s advice is just to keep offering him new stuff and someday he will try it. Hopefully that “someday” will come soon, I’m running out of ideas here!