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A Big Pain in the Fussy Eater

As a matter of fact, the kale is slightly more radioactive than the ice cream.

There is a point in the career of any professional fussy eater, where his pickiness threatens to shred his parents’ last nerve.

Seven-year-old Thing2 is is getting to that point.

I know this point. It’s the point where that microscopic spot of salsa on that piece of broccoli makes it inedible, even if he loved spiced tomatoes just the week before. It’s the point where the number of foods he’s willing to eat can be counted on one hand – the same hand that somehow – after over 13 years – manages to refrain from exploring the concept of spanking.

Fortunately for Thing2, however, his 13-year-old brother taught us long ago that neither threats nor bribes will convince a seven-year-old that the spaghetti sauce made from your organically grown tomatoes and basil and imported extra-virgin olive oil is half as good as the orange tinted mystery sauce that coats a can of processed pasta.

Our seven-year-old social butterfly added another layer of complexity to his heroic fussy eater endeavours. Even supplied with goodies guaranteed to please, he was reguarly returning home with an untouched lunch box. A parent teacher conference revealed that our first grader preferred chatting to chewing (his diet book,Talk Yourself Thin, is due out soon).  When I had finished pulling a few more of my hairs out, I seriously began considering obtaining a court order to install a feeding tube to ensure Thing2 was getting enough calories.

Despite his finicky food habits, however, Thing2 still manages to get taller, and my pediatrician father reminded me once again that even the fussiest eater will do  more than pick at his plate when he’s truly hungry.

“Just make sure he has something healthy to eat when hungry” he advised once again.

So, unless it’s leftover night, everyone at our table gets the same dinner.  I long ago refused to be a short-order cook.  But when I get truly frustrated I look across the table to 13-year-old Thing1 — willing and able to consume every edible item on his own plate and others nearby.

Six years ago, it was his turn to give us grey hair at dinner.  Back then,an impromptu experiment in Thai food flipped the switch on his appetite and palate. We have yet to find the appetite switch for our younger child, but it’s the words of two experiencee grandparents as much as the advice of a season nutritionist that keep us looking for light at the end of this tunnel. However much of a pain in the fussy eater we’re seeing right now, we know that this too shall pass.

I’m already budgeting for the grocery bill.