I have long lamented my youngest son’s limited palate. After months of rejecting anything that wasn’t pureed or cracker crisp, he’s now taken to wolfing down salami and chicken nuggets. It’s not something that makes me particularly happy. After all salami is full of nitrites and chicken nuggets are just processed chicken.
I have to take heart in one of his great passions, though — water. He loves to sip water all day, either from his sippy cup or his bottle at night. If he runs out, he politely says, “I’d like a drink of water, please.” If I ask him to try some apple or orange juice, he refuses, “I don’t want to try that,” he says. As much as I’d like him to become more versatile, I’ll have to give him points for clarity and good manners, don’t you think!
I think the love of water comes from my husband. I’ve heard him wax eloquent about the quality of water in his native Lake Tahoe. And he swears by the water we draw from our well In Orange county, and drinks it in copious quantities. Maybe I have something to learn. Maybe should follow their lead.
I thought this day would never come â€“ my two-year-old leaning from his high chair with arms outstretched, pleading â€œboccoli, boccoliâ€ as I walked to the dinner table with a plate of steaming asparagus.
Now, I donâ€™t fuss over details. The idea is that Aristu is enthusiastic about vegetables, may it be broccoli, asparagus or green beans, is good news. Thatâ€™s a big change from a few months ago when he would spit out anything that had vegetables in it, even though I tried to hide it in all kinds of food.
Now, heâ€™ll eat as many florets of broccoli as I give him â€” OK, Iâ€™m pushing it; letâ€™s say three or four â€” though he doesnâ€™t eat the stem. But weâ€™ll get there at some point. The other day he examined a string bean for a few seconds before tentatively putting it in his mouth.
What does bother me, though, is that he seems to like his vegetables after giving them a bath. We usually give him a plastic cup with a little bit of water because he seems to want to graduate from his sippy cup. These days he likes to slip the broccoli/beans/asparagus into the cup, swirl it around, take it out dripping, suck on it and then chew it. The other day he gave the same treatment to a chicken nugget. As my husband and I and our oldest â€“ heâ€™s 12 â€“ gagged with disgust, Aristu wasnâ€™t bothered at all. He sucked on the chicken nugget and then wolfed it down.
I donâ€™t like the idea of his playing with food while eating dinner. I know that at day care he sits before a television while his teacher feeds him. I disapprove of that, but I donâ€™t insist she stop doing that because, otherwise, it would take her forever to feed him. I know, it takes him 45 minutes to eat when heâ€™s home.
But Iâ€™m going to let him play with his food as long as he eats it at the end. If youâ€™re the parent of a fussy eater, youâ€™ll understand. It doesnâ€™t matter how he eats it, as long as he eats it. Right?