Are You SURE It’s Just a Phase?
As a parent of a small child, there are some things you secretly hope he will never outgrow. How he wakes up in the morning, races to your bed, and says, “Cuddle you, Mom.” The adorable way he pronounces some of his sentences: “I’m berry hungee!” The way he almost instantly falls asleep at night even though he protests when you put him to bed.
Then there are those things you can’t wait for him to be done with. The fact that he pretty much has no concept of inside/outside voice, especially in public places…like church. That even though you are done with diapers, he still calls you from the bathroom for you to come wipe his butt. And the pickiness. The. Freaking. Pickiness.
My son will be three next month, and it has been a battle for the last half of his life to get him to eat anything. Every time I bring him to the pediatrician, she assures me that since his weight is fine and since he is steadily growing, his eating habits are not affecting him. “It’s just a phase toddlers have, he will grow out of it.” I’m always told to keep him on his multivitamins to “stimulate his appetite.” But his appetite itself is not the problem–lately I’ve been seeing him eat more and more of the foods he does eat…he’s just not trying anything new.
Nate has a VERY limited list of foods he will eat–I’d say maybe 30? And most of that list is fruit. I have been told by many parents, “Well you’re lucky there–my kid won’t even touch fruit!” And I am by no means complaining because my child eats so much fruit. I just wish he would eat the same things my husband and I eat, so we could have meals together. When we go out to eat, we have to look at the menu online before we decide on a place to make sure they will have french fries–pretty much the only thing Nate will eat from a restaurant. I’m sure ya’ll know this, but food culture is HUGE in the South, and even more so in Louisiana. We have big family dinners probably once or twice a month, and when we go to eat at my family’s home, I have to either bring Nate’s own food, or call and make sure they have something in the fridge he will eat. Everyone is fixing their plates and sitting down to eat, while I’m in the kitchen cutting up a hot dog for my son.
Like most mothers, I feel at least somewhat at fault for Nathan’s eating habits. Was I wrong for feeding him organic baby food as an infant instead of skipping to table food? Maybe. But he is my first and only child and I honestly did what I thought was best. Since I am somewhat of a picky eater, is it possible that it could be genetic? Who knows? On the opposite end of the spectrum, my husband eats almost anything, so genetics may not be to blame.
I have been given so much advice, both solicited and unsolicited, that I honestly don’t know what to do about the problem anymore. One thing I have heard again and again is, “If he doesn’t want to eat what you want to give him, just don’t give him anything else. When he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat it.” This sounds unnecessarily cruel–I refuse to ever starve my child. On the other hand, it seems like he’s getting old enough to where this picky eating problem needs to come to a halt. I continue to try to feed him whatever my husband and I are having for dinner, but he refuses even a bite. I can’t very well force the food into his mouth.
As it is now, we seem to be at a stalemate. Nate has his 3 year checkup in a couple of weeks, and I’m anxious to hear what the doctor will have to say. In the meantime, I’m open to any and all suggestions anyone else wants to give me!