I know I've talked about being a picky eater before and how I really just don't think about food the way other people do. There are some foods that I like, but I don't daydream about them. Food is a tool of survival and that's it. I try not to assign any emotional value to it and I've tried hard to pass that to my own children as well. I don't reward them with food, I don't bribe them with food. We try to eat as healthy as we can and avoid desserts and candy/cookies/sweets. Lately instead of having goldfish in my diaper bag I've had carrots and both of my children beg for carrots when we're out (the Princess's shirt was covered with carrot stains at the library today).
My son has taken my pickiness and brought it to a whole new level. I know it's payback for what I did to my mother. Whatever. He will refuse to eat food that he LIKES because it's presented in a different way or a different form. He likes macaroni and cheese. But he refuses melted cheese on anything else. He likes chicken nuggets but not any other kind of chicken. And lately he's been refusing nuggets at home and claiming he only likes Burger King chicken nuggets (our one weakness--Burger King). He refuses to try anything new. I've tried to explain to him that if *I'm* cooking it and able to eat it then he should be too... I even tried chicken nuggets and fish sticks to show him that I can try things. He remains stubborn. Which leads me to my dilemma.
I understand being picky and not wanting to eat anything different. I feel for him. I really really do. I can't just go to a restaurant and be sure that I can eat what they have. I can't just go to a friend's house for dinner. I understand him.
I can't make different meals for all of us. I don't enjoy cooking to begin with and when I have to make alternatives for him it's just a pain in the ass. Once he is old enough to take care of himself I don't care what the hell he eats if he doesn't like what I make. But for now I really don't want to be treated like a restaurant with him ordering something different off the menu. If I'm making something that I know he's tried and really doesn't like I will have another option for him. But if it's something normal that he should like and refuses to even try then I don't make him anything else. Which leads to...
crying. Crying and whining at the dinner table. It's mostly at dinner because I let him choose his breakfast and his lunch. But at dinner I would like us to eat the same meal. So I'm left with him crying and being upset. Crying over FOOD. I've told him that food is never a reason to cry and if he doesn't want to eat his dinner he doesn't have to. He just has to sit with us and not cry over it. I try to ignore the whining and sometimes he will actually stop and take a bite or two.
So I'm left with this. Either I just let him choose what he wants to eat, or I try to stay in control and risk him developing an emotional association with food. And I know that half of you reading this think that I'm crazy and if he wants a bowl of fruit loops for dinner (no, we don't have that in the house) I should give it to him. But he's got ancestors with weight problems and I'm trying to start him out on the right path. I say him, because the Princess is no problem whatsoever. She eats anything and everything. She tries it all. She loves vegetables and eats a healthy diet. I will probably just have to make sure I get her into sports when she's old enough. And while I know that ultimately he will have to make his own food choices when he's older, I want to give him the right tools now.