Please Eat Something!

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!


28 thoughts on “Please Eat Something!

  1. Pingback: First Day of School (Ever!) | Easy Being Mom

  2. Hi lovely! Your post reminded me of one I read just days ago about a similar issue… What you’ve written sounds like what they diagnose as Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing. Maybe you’ve looked into it before, but you could get tones of help, tips and support from a Speech Therapist. They normally work with kids on these issues and it can get WAY WAY better ❤
    …Just a thought!


  3. As parents we can’t help worrying about what our children eat, which doesn’t make having a fussy eater for a child easy.

    I do hope your Big Boy gets over his eating phobia. You sound as if you are going the right way about helping him overcome his fear, by encouraging him and not pushing him.

    I wish you luck and thank you for sharing your story.


  4. Pingback: SHINE Blog Hop #7 - The Deliberate Mom

  5. I think this was a great idea! My youngest, now 6, is a super picky eater. She is getting ready to start second grade this fall and I pack her lunch every day drug the school year. Her “main entree” is one of three things – a turkey sandwich (no may or mustard), Spaghettio’s, or a mini bagel with cream cheese. Once in a while, I buy her Luchables. They are not that healthy, but she wants them because she sees her friends with them and it makes things easier for me! 🙂


  6. It sounds to me like your son probably has digestive issues that cause discomfort when he eats. This is becoming more common because of the crappy food most americans eat (SAD) and damaged gut due to the overuse of antibiotics, medications, etc. If you would like to help your son by healing his gut I recommend the GAPS diet. Good luck.


  7. So happy I saw this post on the Shine Blog Hop! I already feel you, even though my little guy is still only 10 months old. He’s always been fussy about eating solids, and now that we’re trying to do more and more finger foods our dog is having a field day (Baby not so much). I hate to cook… which really means that I despise doing dishes.

    I really admire your persistence! I know that we can just keep trying and offering them variety, but it’s so hard not to worry about them getting the nutrients they need and setting them up to eat a healthy diet throughout there lives. No pressure (ha!). I think you’re doing great, mama. Hopefully our boys will eat more, soon!


    • I almost got him to eat a chicken nugget last night (what kid doesn’t like nuggets?) but all he did was nibble the coating and declare it to be yummy. Wouldn’t touch the chicken or take a real bite though. We don’t have a dog so it means more for me!
      Thanks for stopping by, I’m really glad to know that I’m not alone!


  8. My nephew has very similar food aversions. He only eats peanut butter and honey sandwiches (without the crust), cheese quesadillas, fruit and of course any sweets he likes. My best friend has finally gotten him to like smoothies so she can sometimes sneak spinach into them if he doesn’t see. He also gags and throws up if he eats something he doesn’t like.
    I’m sorry it’s a struggle right now, but hopefully when he goes to school maybe seeing others eating different foods will help him.
    Thanks for linking up at the Shine Blog Hop!


    • I too am hoping that school will show him that others eat food and don’t mind it! At the very least it may make him hungry enough to eat whatever I pack in his lunch box!


  9. Kids are so different aren’t they? My kids don’t like a lot of “kid” foods – they are not big on pizza, chicken nuggets, or spaghetti, for example. They are both totally into olives and deli meats though, and my littlest can’t get enough of tofu. Who would have thought? We now have tofu and noodles stir-fried every week, because Miss One eats the tofu, Miss Three eats the noodles, and hubby and I eat the vegies! My philosophy is to keep experimenting and putting different foods in front of them (usually along with a little bit of something they like and are used to) and you never know what they might end up eating!


  10. Food issues can be so hard to deal with. By what I’ve read of your blog I can tell you’re an amazing mommy. The way I see it is, if the doctor is happy with the growth and weight of your little one then all is fine. Just keep at it believe it or not their palate as ours changes as they grow. My oldest wouldn’t even come near the table if anyone had fish on their plate, now he loves eating fish! Stopping by from the June Hobnob. 🙂


  11. My 2 older kids eat anything, this little one eats nothing green. I realize he’s only 6 1/2 months old but he flat out refuses. Green beans, peas, zucchini, broccoli, etc. none of it…. Everyone’s like you just have to keep trying. It’s like I’m not going to battle him daily. It is kinda funny. He spits it out, wrinkles his nose, shivers, the whole 9 yards!


  12. My youngest is also extremely picky so I totally feel your pain here.
    A few things that have worked with HIM are: taking food with us when we leave the house, and then once we are somewhere and hunger hits, he only has the available food available. He has eaten MANY more foods with this technique and he sometimes will agree to eat those foods at home, another day. The good ol’ bribe works with him too. If he gets to do something right afterwards, like roller skate, he is far more likely to eat it (as long it’s not something he already despises).
    And here’s what worked well with my older two children: Fill the majority of their plate with things they like, and then put a small amount of the new food. The only rule is that they had to try it AND they could spit it out in the trash if they absolutely hated it. I think the fear of swallowing something “gross” is a major factor for some kids.
    I’m actually planning to write a post about picky eating pretty soon, so maybe there will be some comments that will help us! 😉


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