Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Time to Admit Defeat: New Tactics and the Picky Eater in My House

Folks, it's war.

I've known it for a while...a simmer that's slowly built up to a boil as I've watched Boy Wonder leave more and more food on his plate, immediately asking for snacks after meals, hording food in his bedroom, stealing my cans of diet soda when I'm not looking (he really does...I went back to finish one last night and the damn can was empty...and I'd just opened it!)

Whether Boy Wonder is truly a picky eater (could be, could be) or whether he's just darn lazy (another great possibility), there's a war brewing in our home and the refrigerator stands at ground zero.
P's been on to Boy Wonder for a few months now, but has given the kid space to change his ways. This morning, all heck broke loose when I went to change out his backpack before school and took out yesterday's lunchbox (yes, I forgot to last night.) Inside, I saw his lunch that I packed him--still intact 24 hours later. Oh sure, half the ham sandwich was gone and so was the juice box, but still...EVERYTHING else remained there. Untouched.

I panicked. I did a mental tally of all the things I saw him eat throughout the day (and yes, this is where my own "mea culpa" comes into the picture. The following list is shocking, sickening, and I'm taking full responsibility for it's ick-factor):

* a bowl of Lucky Charms, a half glass of Orange Juice for breakfast

* sent him to school with a lunch he didn't eat besides the juice box and the half sandwich

*once home, he snacked on pretzels while watching TV (this is also where he stole my soda)

*for dinner I made him a plate and all he ate was the corndog and two bites of applesauce

If I am lucky ( and I mean with a capital L-U-C-K-Y), he ingested what? a total of 800 grams of sugar and about 700 calories of crap??? And if you know Boy Wonder (or have eyes in your head and have seen a picture of him recently), you know he's a skinny little man. It's something I assume he'll grow out of (definitely not a trait he gets from me!), but not with the way he's currently eating.
I stood in shock for about two minutes this morning when I came to that conclusion. Thankfully P was sympathetic and kind, but I could tell he was relieved that I finally "got it." (He walks a fine line between being a parental figure and trying not to be an overbearing step-dad...of which he does a MIGHTY fine job, I must say).

We mutally decided on a "no snack" policy for the forseeable future, as Boy Wonder lives, breaths, and dwells on snacks. He'll ask for snacks directly after dinner. (Say whaaaaaaat?) I'm throwing out all pretzels, chips, and "snacky crap" when I get home. (Sorry, P! Hiden those goodies on the top shelf of the cabinet before I get home!!)

I went out and bought that "hide good crap in your kid's food book" (aka "Deceptively Delicous") and while I tried FOREVER to avoid her hype and buying in to it, it's a pretty brilliant idea. I've already put sticky notes on several of the recipes I want to try and I'll post a few and how they turned out.

I also did some research on "picky eaters" and it seems to be a phenomenon.

I, personally, don't remember being given the option of being picky...but that was back in the 80s...when kids didn't wear seatbelts, car seats hadn't been invented, and the only nutritional advice Hulk Hogan offered us was to eat our vitamins and say our prayers. (Check and check.) My mom would have knocked me out of my chair if I'd refused to eat and THEN asked for some pretzels. I'm a softie, I admit it.

I found a PBS entire Web section called The Science of Picky Eaters.

Psychology Today (one of my all time favorite magazines that has a Web site so rad and true to their print version that I rarely buy the hard copy anymore) has this article: "Picky Eaters."

And finally, the Mayo Clinic has "10 Tips for Picky Eaters" in their Children's Nutrition section.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. A long, uphill battle where we have to be bad guys (I HATE being the bad guy), we have to make rules and stick to them (not so great at that, either), and we have to set a good example (BOOO!)

But as small of a consolation as it is...I get to make broccoli puree and find a way to sneak it into his chocolate chip pancakes...suhweeet. A little something I like to call "Mama's Revenge."

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