Do you have a “picky eater?”
I never believed in “picky eaters” until my son turned 15 months. He started rejecting things he had eaten willingly before. Now, he will not eat fresh fruit or veggies. He throws most things on the floor.
He just wants crackers.
This is shocking to me. Shocking.
I love veggies. I always have. My aunt still tells the story of how I requested “spinach and broccoli” for my special birthday dinner when I was turning five.
As a parent and health educator, I’ve always thought that if you eat a variety of healthy food, and give these same foods to your children, it would be simple to raise kids who eat–and love–whole foods.
So far, it has worked well with my first child. My daughter, age six, asks for greens and tofu for breakfast. At birthday parties, she stops eating a piece of cake when her “throat feels bad.” She barely makes a dent in her hauls of candy from Halloween, Easter and other holidays. She eats a piece or two then forgets about them. No bingeing. No hoarding. We are saving the candy to decorate the best gingerbread village ever next Christmas.
My son, however… Well, I’m worried about him.
Recently, I won a “Copy Kids” DVD that depicts children eating fruits and veggies. The idea is basically “Monkey See, Monkey Do.”
Although I try to abide by the AAP guideline recommending no “screen time” until the age of two, we’ve been watching the video. It is mesmerizing.
The kids are ADORABLE and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are seated at formal dining tables with a backdrop of bookshelves, while others are seated at casual kitchen tables with a backdrop of kids’ art hanging on the walls.
(Get it? Backgrounds…)
The kids are also diverse: they are cute, so frickin’ cute, and so unbelievably frickin’ cute I want to adopt them.
The first segment we watched was “Broccoli.” The opening scene depicts a sweet little moppet excitedly tearing into an entire head of broccoli.
That’s right. An entire head of broccoli.
The DVD depicts kid after kid eating gigantic, raw heads of broccoli. Not pieces, not steamed. My internal reaction to this was, “This is unrealistic. This doesn’t show how we eat broccoli. This isn’t going to help!”
Finally, toward the end of the segment, they showed kids eating pieces of broccoli. Whew!
Many of the other fruits and veggies are shown in the same way: whole. Whole carrots, whole peppers, whole tomatoes, eventually followed by kids eating smaller pieces. I suppose Copy Kids intended to illustrate what food really looks like, but I think would be helpful to show kids eating the foods as they are commonly prepared.
Although I may be one to quibble, I am not one to give up!
The other afternoon, we watched “Cucumbers.”
I brought out a whole cucumber, a knife, and cutting board, and sliced the cucumber while we were watching. I gave the Little Guy a couple of pieces and ate several pieces myself.
He threw his cucumber pieces on the floor.
But there’s hope! Just yesterday, at the farmers’ market, he leaned forward and bit off the tip of a cucumber I was buying.
He might have even tasted it before spitting it on the ground.