Parenting Pet Peeve #3: Will you just EAT already?!

There’s no nice way of saying it: kids are picky eaters, and it’s just a pain in the ass.

There. I’ve said it.

Don’t get me wrong; my kids DO eat food. They even eat healthy food. Unlike how I was at the same age, these kiddos will gladly eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially when raw/uncooked). Their lunches often include sliced peppers and cherry tomatoes. The real issue crops up at dinnertime (or whenever an entree is in order).

DS really only ever wants to eat a sandwich (peanut butter w/jelly and/or honey, or Nutella) or macaroni and cheese.

DD really only ever wants a Nutella sandwich, a McDonalds cheeseburger, or chicken nuggets (preferably from McDonalds).

It makes eating out, whether in-town or out-of-town, anywhere from tricky to frustrating. When we have a meal that gets gobbled up, we feel like we won the lottery. When we’re making a meal at home, if it’s something that dh and I really want (such as the pork tenderloin, beets, and risotto he made the other night), the odds are excellent that the kids will threaten to throw up the miniscule “no thank you” bites they’ve been required to eat and they’ll end up sullenly munching on mini-bagels instead.

Of course, the easy answer is to make multiple meals, what my mother termed “running a restaurant”, but our work schedules make that nearly impossible except on the weekends. And, frankly, my stubborn streak wants them to just deal with the fact that they have to try new foods – even if they decide they don’t like them – just to give us the benefit of the doubt that we’re not trying to poison them by feeding them asparagus. Or mashed potatoes. Or poached sockeye salmon.

It’s just not possible that we’re the only parents out there that deal with this, and I take morbid comfort from each time that I hear another parent fussing at their recalcitrant, non-eating child at a restaurant. I want to give my counterpart a discreet nod, an acknowledgement that we’re all in the same foxhole. But usually I just let it go, because I know they just want to eat their meal in peace.

There needs to be some kind of secret sign, like a hand signal or a special blinking pattern, so we can silently, carefully give each other a show of support.

In the meantime, we’ll just continue to soldier on. As I’ve reminded the kids (fairly recently, in fact), if they want to restrict themselves to only a small handful of food choices, their ability and opportunity to eat out will be curtailed. And we’ll continue to try to offer them food we think they may, eventually, one day, far in the future, hopefully soon, get into eating on a regular basis.

We can only hope.

It’s all I’ve got.

{nods silently and moves along}

One thought on “Parenting Pet Peeve #3: Will you just EAT already?!

  1. Ab says that’s so f’ing funny. He laughed his ass off. I guess the saying is true: May you have children just like you. Ab says it’s an ancient curse. If you let them live to adulthood, they may love what they won’t eat now.

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