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Becoming a picky eater

July
1

I’ve said many times that I’d be hard-pressed to describe Markus as a picky eater.

Pun intended, it looks as if I’m going to have to eat my words.grumpy-2.jpg

Markus, I regret to say, is rushing pell-mell into the (dun-dun-dunnnn!!!) Terrible Twos. This little guy, who was always so easy to feed that he barely even needed a bib when he first went to solids (he made dang sure that every drop of whatever he was getting got in his mouth), is asserting his independence whenever and however he can.

Oatmeal? He’s eaten it for breakfast more mornings than not for the past year, year and a half. The last couple of times we’ve made it for him (including this morning)? Fugheddaboutit.

He absolutely, positively refused to eat so much as one flake of oatmeal. He wouldn’t eat any of mommy’s, which is mixed with Polaner all-fruit spread. He used to eat all of his, finish what his big brother left over and then have some of mine.

He used to not think twice about eating chicken. Now he looks at it suspiciously, ponders it and shakes his little curly mop of a head.

Like his brother before him, he’s learning to love the word “no” and his eating habits are the biggest casualty.

We used to brag that Rafael wasn’t very picky, that he ate pretty much whatever we ate. Then the twos AND threes hit and he became incorrigible about everything, not least of all his eating habits.

Days would go by where we weren’t sure if he’d eaten anything that wasn’t a carbohydrate — bread, crackers and Cheerios. We secretly cheered when he ate yogurt or cheese. At least he still drank his milk and would down some apple juice, too.

We began to think he was never going to eat anything else again.

Then, he accepted red cabbage, and steak. The other day he ate chicken (and used a grown-up fork and knife, though it was one of those knives that’s barely a step up from a butter knife). He even ate eggplant recently, so long as I cut the skin off it.

He still gets weird if there are herbs on something, he wants all the “green things” or “black things” taken off, and I tell him to do it himself or cope with it. (I freely admit, I did more than once just pick off as much as I could just so he’d freakin’ eat already. I don’t have resolve of steel, by a longshot.)

But Markus’ move toward pickyness has helped me to remember that Rafael, once upon a time, wasn’t very picky. So maybe one day soon Rafael will surprise us and eat something that has specks of color on it and is even on the same plate as something else (that’s another story for another day).

And, maybe, in a couple years, Markus once again will eat anything and everything put in front of his little face.

Meanwhile, I have to get used to hearing the word “Noooooooo!”

A lot.

Photo courtesy of the Stock Exchange. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 2:40 pm by Amy Vernon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: picky eater, terrible twos

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About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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