Thursday, October 11, 2007

picky eaters!

Before I got pregnant-- even before I tried to get pregnant-- I knew one thing about my progeny. I was not going to have a picky eater. And if somehow a rotten, ungrateful little parasite managed to be born unto my loins, I wasn't going to support his or her snarky ways.

It's Mama's cooking or nothing!

I felt pretty certain that I wouldn't be one of those parents cooking a separate meal for every family member, letting the littlest, pickiest one dictate what s/he and/or the rest of us would eat.

Guess what? I still feel that way! Ah, consistency, you are my friend.

The New York Times highlighted this issue in one of its top most emailed articles of the day. It talks about the possible genetic link between parents who were picky eaters and their picky kids.

There are parents in this article who rearranged their fabulous European vacations to accommodate their kids' food aversions. Parents who cook those individual meals. Parents who deceived their kids into eating something more than processed cheez foods.

I am not here to blame! No, I'm here to support parents. I'm here to say, stick to your ladles! Hold firm to your salad beliefs. Let no packaged processed semi-edible with a shelf life longer than God take over your kitchen and your kitchen-y beliefs!

The article ends with what I think is the most useful piece of advice: patience. Just keep calmly offering the food that you have prepared for the family dinner. The kid will take it eventually, or the kid won't and will be a bit hungry. Some kids might take their strike too far, in which case offering them some modification is of course just fine. But here's the main rule in our household:

1. Parents are in charge. Be consistent and don't break down just because the kid is screaming or refusing. The kid is allowed to her own opinions and allowed to express them, but she's not allowed to harm herself, and in the end eating crappily is harmful.

2. Parents have the responsibility to help a child expand her horizons and learn something. This is not going to happen on a daily candy bar.

3. Food is FUN, darn it!! Finding the perfect seasonal produce at the farmer's market, preparing the food, enjoying it with all our senses... I mean, this is life at its most delicious. I'm not going to deny my babies that.

Tomorrow I'm having a soup party. It's going to be delicious. I've made three breads, three soups, a potato salad, and cookies and salad are on the way. I hope this is the first of many parties like this. I want Minkie to grow up in a household full of conviviality. Viva la food revolution!!