Thursday, August 2, 2012

What the jicama?!

On a recent visit to my sister and brother-in-law's house, we lined up our three kids for lunch. My brother-in-law, an excellent cook and avid foodie, laid out a variety of foods in front of my daughter, and my niece and nephew, including long slivers of jicama. I watched S with amusement, knowing jicama was not going to fly with my picky eater.

S exclaimed, "apples!"--which, by the way, she also sometimes won't eat--and bit the end off one of the jicama slices. Crunching slowly, a look of betrayal washed over her face and she started fake-crying until I extended my open palm beneath her mouth. So long, jicama.

This isn't a new move for us. S has rejected a number of other foods in just the same way, including blueberries, carrots, and--get this--french fries. What toddler doesn't like french fries??

"Fine," I said. "Focus on your sandwich." That's my current game plan: trying my best not to make mealtime a battle, hoping that one day S will be more adventurous on her own. But I couldn't help but watch with envy as both my nephew and niece--3 and 5 years old, respectively--gobbled down their jicama, and their peaches, and their deli meat, and more. Beside them, S looked bored as she poked at her pb&j.

So, I have to ask... why me? How did I end up with a picky eater? My husband and I both love a variety of foods--and lots of it. So how did we end up with someone who most certainly does not?

I know that it's part nature, sure. But I also fear that we went wrong somewhere along the way. S used to be in a very low percentage on the weight charts and so we bent the rules, letting her return to the table after getting down and letting her snack on the go. Plus, we hedged our bets with what she would eat more of--piling more noodles than broccoli on her plate. We don't worry about her weight as much now, but along the way, we've created some habits that are hard to break.

So what does S eat, you might ask? Well, she definitely has specific tastes. She likes oatmeal with honey, cottage cheese with kashi cereal on top, lo mein noodles, watermelon, bananas, and of course, the usual toddler fare like chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers. Her favorite, though? Burritos. I have to admit, I got the biggest rush of mommy pride the first time I saw S eat a burrito the size of her head. Amazing.

But everything else? Not so much. So I guess we need to keep trying. In fact, the experts say you need to introduce a food at least seven times to a child before they decide whether they like it or not... but I'm a bit lazy, and that's a whole lot of jicama.


  1. All I can say is this. My Doctor says a picky eater is not hungry. If she doesn't eat, she doesn't eat. She will when she's hungry.

    Good thing that you are not worried about her weight anymore, because it makes it a lot easier (on you) to enforce this.

  2. Cute picture! My SIL once said about her adventurous eater (as her daughter was devouring pasta with pesto), "well, they just eat whatever you give them." Riiiihhgggt. Not our little dude. I was once a picky eater myself (parents would bring me a McD happy meal to any fine restaurant we went to), but outgrew that phase and now am a big old foodie. So I'm hoping our dude will outgrow it too. Good luck!

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