The Importance of Time and Consistency
Dealing with a picky eater (my very own 2-year-old daughter) on a daily basis can be quite daunting at times. She has a mother who loves to cook, bake, and sample a wide variety of foods and flavors as much as humanly possible. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to taking culinary risks in the kitchen. In addition, I am extremely fortunate to have a husband who is willing to try anything I put in front of him, which makes the adventure that much more exciting!
With all that being said, over the last two years I have had a little one who would repeatedly spit out food, gag over certain textures, scream in restaurants and during family dinners, and repeatedly tell me, "Mommy, I don't want to eat" or "I don't like it" before she even made it to the table to see what was being served. There were days when I felt embarrassed by the situation, times when I wanted to just give in and give her macaroni and cheese for the 27th time that week because then at least she was eating something, and meals when she barely ate because I felt I needed to stand my ground. I've listened to all different types of advice and opinions from the elders in my family, as well as fellow moms, colleagues and the foodies in my life.
The vision I had for my daughter's early experiences with food never came true. I wanted her to gobble up different flavors the way I do and enjoy dipping fruits and veggies into dips and yogurts the way I have recommended to so many families in the past. To this day, she won't go near any type of yogurt, applesauce or pudding and is smart enough to know whenever I try to trick her with a frozen variation!
Being the mom of a picky eater has stretched me in a way that only being a mom can.
Now that she is just a few weeks shy of 2-and-a-half, I am realizing that we have finally made it to a new level where she will agree, and sometimes independently choose, to taste new foods. It is a hurtle we have crossed so many times, day after day, week after week, that I have lost count. However, somewhere in the process, she has learned to trust me. I credit both time and consistency with the successes we have had in the kitchen. It took time for my daughter to try new foods and like new foods. It took time for me to learn what she liked and how to build on it. It also required consistency. I needed to be consistent in my requests, praise and expectations. She grew to depend and rely on my consistency, which over time has created a child who has learned to enjoy food.
So, if you are the parent of a picky eater, take heart and know that your child is in a season, but it won't last forever, and the more consistent you can be over time, the sooner this season will hopefully pass.