When I was pregnant, I remember reading with smug satisfaction on Pregnant Chicken the lists of things mothers swore they’d “never do” once they had kids. I knew kids were unpredictable – I was going to make no such assumptions about my future parenting. I had some general ideas, like how I would prefer recycled or wooden toys, or how we would get Netflix and never let the child see TV commercials. But if we were only given plastic toys, or we were too lazy to get Netflix (both the case in the end), no biggie. I was all “like, whatever” and I was pretty sure I’d stay that way.
I read all the books, but the two that most spoke to me were Bringing Up Bebe and French Kids Eat Everything. As a glutton, I assumed I would have the kind of toddler who would eat sushi and look adorable tearing a lobster in half. By age three, I imagined him specifying whether he wanted Szechuan and Hunan food for dinner and ordering dim sum in Mandarin. By five, I hoped he would be able to recite all the kinds of peppers in order of their Scoville heat units. I was going to have a foodie baby, and he was going to go along with and get into all my dining plans.
Never be smug. When you are smug, you pay. Maybe not right away, but you pay.
I was so excited when at three months, he was grabbing at our forks and mimicking our chewing. He’s so advanced! I thought. At four months, it took him just a few days to get the idea of swallowing pablum and peach puree made from my mother-in-law’s canned peaches.
At six months, he had his first vegetable. I would give him bottles filled with gently warmed homemade chicken or vegetable broth, which he received with intrigued enthusiasm. He was doing so well.
I don’t know what happened. I just don’t know.
My 19-month-old, my happy, healthy toddler boy only eats smooth food. Oh, he’ll eat peanut butter sandwiches and muffins and cookies and barbecue chips and Cheerios and bananas, but at dinner time, at the table, he will only eat purees. I have tried everything – when I put small pieces of food on a plate, he will pick each piece up with delicate precision and drop each piece onto the floor. He will not consider blueberries, grapes, or pieces of mango, which is his favourite fruit. Anything savoury is immediately refused. No cheese, never. He hates pasta and potatoes and even rice. I have attempted to feed him the same things as many as 25 or 30 times, but he will not even try what I’m setting before him; if I put something with texture into his mouth, he will melt-the-eff-down. But if I puree it, he will eat it. This is getting ridiculous.
He is not even trying to learn Mandarin.
So what do I do? Do I ditch my dream of raising an adventurous eater? Do I hold him down and shove forkfuls of rice and beans into his face? Do I bring him back to the hospital and ask for a trade? Do I just accept that he’s going to eat like a dentures-wearer for the rest of his life?
How did you get your kids to move onto real food?