In general, I think that Mr. Quimby and I have done a pretty good job with the big issues of parenting. We fail often in the day to day, and I start every morning with a Hail Mary and a prayer to help me be a better wife and mother that day.
Yet, there is one big area that I have failed on and that is getting the girls to eat a wide variety of foods. I get teary from frustration just thinking about it.
Mr. Q and I did great when they were infants - made all their baby food, gave them lots and lots of different healthy table foods, made sure they had a wide variety each day. We would make 2 vegetables and 1-2 protein/grain dishes for them every weekend. But we didn't eat out that often and Mr. Q and I don't enjoy cooking, so we didn't make dinners on a regular basis that were healthy enough for children (not to mention infants and toddlers) to eat. They kept eating their steamed vegetables, whole wheat pasta, rice and lentils, and a small handful of fruits that had a long shelf life and were easy to prepare.
When Ramona was about 18 months old, I started making dinner every night. In an effort to keep it simple, I had 6-7 dinners that I made on a consistent basis. She had already developed her constipation issues by then, so keeping our meals consistent and predictable was a way to keep her digestion moving and avoid the struggle that would result when we tried to get her to eat something new. That struggle would cause tension which would make her "hold it" which would start this awful cycle. Running our household still felt a bit overwhelming for Mr. Q and I at that point, and cooking a wide variety of dinners was something we just had to let go of.
Over the past 2-3 years, I've gone to Dream Dinners or Let's Dish and made various meals. I would prepare them, Mr. Q and the girls would refuse to eat them (did I mention that Mr. Q has a limited repetoire as well) and they would wind up eating pasta or leftovers while I ate the DELICIOUS well balanced meal that I prepared.
So, here we are at ages 5 and 7, and they have a very limited repetoire. I am grateful, oh so grateful, that their very limited repetoire is healthy food. Beezus will eat two fast food options, Ramona won't eat any.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when we had Chipotle a few nights ago for my birthday dinner. Previously one of their fast food options, they both had a few bites and then wouldn't eat any more. Then, a couple days later we went out to dinner at a local restaurant, and they ordered plain white pasta (Ramona) and PB&J (Beezus). THEN a few days after that, Mr. Q was out of town and the girls and I had dinner at an Italian restaurant and neither of them would eat the meatball they ordered because it had sauce on it. (Homemade sauce that was DELICIOUS). This kind of whiny eating habits drives me CRAZY and I really can't take it anymore.
It's time for action, people. I've got my community event that I'm in charge of coming up in 2.5 weeks, and after that I'm laying down the law about eating. I eat well-balanced meals (1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains) but I need to cut out the bread at mealtime (there are a lot of things I need to cut out, but that's another post :-) and I want my family to eat a better variety of foods. In the meantime, I'm going to do some reading about adult picky eaters and child picky eaters and develop a strategy. I also won't hesitate to make an appointment with a nutritionist who specializes in this sort of thing. I've seen too many adults with limited repetoires to believe that this issue will just resolve itself. I'm sick of eating the same darn thing all the time and I don't want to raise kids who eat such a limited repetoire.
If you have formerly picky kids, I'd love to hear how you turned it around !
5 days ago