Article from our friends at Citymommy.com
By Suzie Rose
I’m sure many moms have experienced this timeline:
Baby starts eating solids. Hooray!
Baby gets older, starts eating thicker foods, crunchy, yummy stuff.
Baby turns one.
Baby starts closing her mouth FAST, like a bear trap!
Baby is now toddler.
Toddler voices opinion and flails arms alot.
Toddler used to like peas….
Toddler is now Queen of “Yuck!”.
“The Queen of Yuck she ate some muck and didn’t know what to do. She threw a fit, from her mouth she did spit a big wad of vegetable stew”
My life with the Queen is now a continual state of deep distress at mealtime. Especially in regards to vegetables and making sure she’s having a healthy meal. I’ve written about this before, but it just begs to have one more blog about how unbelievably maddening it is to try and feed my daughter. I’ve tried everything. Disguising the food, sneaking the food in while she’s reading a book. Bribing. Getting pissy with the Queen. (not recommended) So, I’ve really run into a brick wall as of late. The only saving grace I’ve found was stumbling across an old N. Y. Times article. It offered some advice, given by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a very famous pediatrician and well-established author. He answers a mother’s question about vegetables with this response in that “sanity saving” article:
“Every time I am asked about young children and vegetables (and in the course of 50 years of practice, I have discovered that my mother was not the only mother who cared so deeply about vegetables), I tell mothers, and grandmothers, “Forget about vegetables.” They turn pale. Open their eyes wide. Feel faint. I offer them a seat, and repeat, “Forget about vegetables.” As they gasp for breath, I continue, “When a young child struggles with you over food, you won’t win. The more you struggle, the more he’ll hate whatever you’re trying to shovel into him. Back off. Apologize. Let him know that you know that only he can swallow the stuff you prepare for him.”
Okay, I think I’m in love with him!
(Here is the link if you’d like to read it in its entirety.)
But how can this theory of his be true??? Well, Brazelton himself still does not eat vegetables and has lived a long and healthy life. I’m guessing his being a pediatrician gives us a clue into the fact that his brain development didn’t suffer. He’s been practicing medicine for 50 years and is 80-years-old so his body/spirit hasn’t suffered.
So why all this fuss?? Why can’t I shake the feeling that chicken nuggets and sweet potato puffs are going to somehow stunt her growth??? Why do I feel the need to pray to the food Gods every night that she’ll eat real peas again, or try some squash?
I think I really need to chill out. All those years of being told by society I should eat certain foods I did not like definitely must have left an impression. I’M BECOMING THAT MOTHER!
Well, hopefully just the good kind of concerned mother. But I’ve decided that I don’t want my frenetic, worried energy to rub off on my daughter and exacerbate the situation. So, I guess I’m going to have to meditate pre-dinnertime and try and heed Brazelton’s advice. Let the chips fall where they may. And if she becomes a child that only eats crackers and cheese but still goes to Med school, then maybe by that point I’ll be able to let it go.
I myself didn’t start eating a multitude of vegetables until college. That’s when I discovered “sauces”. But my daughter has already figured out that trick of mine and looks at me like I’m off my rocker. I swear the other day she said, “You CAN’T be serious, you peasant slave!”. Or maybe she just shook her head and threw the broccoli with mayo to the floor. I can’t remember.
Anyway, I know it’s tough being a mom. The worry can be an awesome weight to carry. I think we need to learn to pick our battles and know that our kids are really going to be all right if they don’t eat “what’s good for them” all the time. I may just throw caution to the wind and let her eat cake for dinner? Naw, she may be the Queen of Yuck and a royal pain at dinnertime, but my sweet princess still needs SOME balance.
So why not join me in the non-revolt. The “indifferent” approach to serving a meal. Give ‘em what they like?? Maybe by the time they’re teenagers they’ll be vegetarians. Scoffing at our cookies and ice cream. And demanding the carrots and cauliflower or “Off with her head!”
Citymommy.com is a membership-only local community website for moms, and was founded by Dayna Landry in April 2007.