Matt's Tirade Tuesday

Taking A Stand For Parents Of Picky Eaters

September 29, 2020

Today I make a stand for Parents of “Picky” Eaters

  I’m not a doctor so this little tirade is NOT about kids who don’t get enough vitamins and nutrients, or children who have become unhealthy due to their diet. 

  A little background on my story. My first daughter is and has always been an adventurous eater. My youngest, Avery, who is 10...not so much.  

  My wife, Amy and I have read a million articles describing recipes or tricks to get your kids to eat veggies and fruits. We bought a few cookbooks with recipes promising to delight children, no matter how picky! We bought Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica’s book, Deceptively Delicious.  There’s one called… The Fussy Eaters Cookbook, with the subtitle... 135 fast, yummy, and nutritious recipes that will tempt even the fussiest eaters. The description of the book…” In this book, Annabel shows how to sneak fruits and vegetables into child-friendly recipes.” Yippee. Woo-Hoo and I call B.S. 

  We have tried it all... trust me, everything. Plus, eating at home is not a public battle, and that’s where the pain of a parent of a picky eater feels the pain. 

 The tricks don’t work because my picky eater is amazing at detecting food in a place it shouldn’t be. I could grind up one pea into powder and mix it in a giant bowl of cookies and cream ice cream.  She can look at it a mile away and see something doesn’t look right. We know the look, the one where she starts “inspecting” for the intruder. Hey, something is not right…this smells funny, it looks different.  Usually the suspect has been seen or smelled out before it gets to her mouth. But if it touches her lips and it has any hint of nothing but pure sugary joy, its a gag, and spit out. It’s a kind of a weird, annoying, super power.  

  The weird thing about parents of picky eaters is that we get to the point where we don’t care (maybe not so much don’t care, more like tired of the fight) about the fruits and veggies part. We just have fantasies she would love pizza, or fast food! 

  Yes. Pizza! Every kid’s birthday party has pizza, family get togethers have pizza. If the darn kid would just eat freakin’ pizza our lives would vastly improve! Or fast food, for goodness sake! Nuggets, for the love of God. What kid doesn’t like chicken nuggets?!  

  It’s embarrassing when your kid is a picky eater. It’s embarrassing to them and for us.  

We gave up a while ago and decided to carry our own food. Yes, you get odd, judgmental looks when you bring your own food to people’s homes and to restaurants. Especially, since the food you are pulling out is not some healthy, allergy free, concoction. It’s some very specific brand, shape, color of Mac & Cheese or a specific pasta (in our case tortellini covered in parmesan cheese).  

  The family you're visiting will kindly say, “We have Mac & Cheese!” Then we explain, “Well, she is very particular about her boxed Mac & Cheese. It has to be the Annie’s brand; it has to be white and it has to be shells.”  

  Cue the judgmental eye roll, the inner voice of the people you're visiting saying, “That kid rules that family. Why do they spoil her? If that were my kid...”  

  Avery’s is on the spectrum and sometimes kids like her have a problem with food. We have tried therapy, etc. Just don’t judge, because you don’t know that family's story. 

  Saying crap, like, “When I was a kid my parents wouldn’t let me leave the table until I ate a bowl of Brussels sprouts!", doesn't help. Parents of picky eaters who have dealt with this for years, have tried everything! We could give a flying EFF, how tough your mom was. She probably smoked when she was pregnant and drove around town with a baby on her lap! Crap changes! 

  Avery’s doctor told us she’s pretty healthy, but needs to eat more, even if it’s ice cream several times a day. In the past, She has gone a few days without eating when we told her she couldn’t have any food until she ate a vegetable or fruit. She may get Scurvy, Ricketts, or some other pirate disease, but she’s not going to starve to death on my watch. Our sweet Aves would rather starve than eat what is not white. That is more than just being a little picky.  

  So, don’t give me the side eye when she pokes around at the food on her plate and still gets dessert. Just count yourself lucky that your kid tosses cauliflower down their gullet. I’m sure there is something your little darling is doing that is unusual and a pain in your butt, so keep that in mind.

Peace Out and Happy Tirade Tuesday!

- Matt