I had the following conversation with my children tonight:
Me: Who's excited for roasted cod, parsnips and carrots for dinner!
Marlo: Not me!
Val: (who now repeats everything that her sister says) Not me!
Me: Come on! This is dinner. You have to eat it.
Marlo then sidles up to me and puts her arm around me and says...
Marlo: Mom, you can put it in front of me, but I am just going to stare at it. I am not eating that for dinner.
Val (from across the room): I'm not eating that for dinner too Mom!
Me: Would you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Both kids: YEAH!!! PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY!!
Marlo: Now that I won't stare at. I will eat a PB& J!
Mom throws up the white flag as she doesn't have the fight in her tonight.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Marlo, almost 6, that went something like this:
Me: Marlo, why aren't you eating your lunches that I pack you? You love egg salad. And yesterday you didn't eat the carrots and hummus, or the chicken salad the day before.
Marlo: I used to like those things, but I don't anymore.
Me: Since when?
Marlo: I like eggs, but not egg salad. I like carrots, but not with hummus, and I don't like the nuts in the chicken salad.
Me: Then don't eat the nuts (out of the salad that you ate a bowl of two days prior, including the nuts).
Marlo: Mom, I only like tuna salad for lunch. Pack me tuna salad for lunch every day and I will eat it.
Here we are two weeks later, and there has been a tuna sandwich in every lunch I have packed for her. And every day she eats every last bite of it.
What happened to my adventurous eater?? What happened to the girl that ate beets and lamb chops? What happened to my girl who would try anything? Where is the girl that used to eat whatever I gave her to eat?
When I was young I ate everything that my mom made. With the exception of Sloppy Joes (something about the smell and consistency of the meat product made me ill), I ate everything that my mother ever placed in front of me. I remember having my cousins over when we were around 6 years old, and one of them pitched a huge fit because my mom made different Mac n' Cheese than her mom usually made. She called it weird and wouldn't eat it, and I was shocked at her behavior (and can still replay that scene in my head to date) because I wouldn't even think to complain and whine about food! My mom made it, I ate it. It was that simple.
If we were at a friends house, we ate what their mom made. If we were out to dinner, we ate what we ordered. If we were at a birthday party, we ate what was served and didn't complain.
A few weeks ago, at one of the hundreds of birthday parties we now attend, we were eating pizza with about 20 other children. I am standing with other adults across the room from the kids, and I hear Marlo shout, "Mom! This pizza is gross! It isn't the kind I like!" for all to hear. WHAT? Not my child! I ran over to her and told her she can't say things like this, and she had to eat it. Of course she pushed it away and then started whining about how hungry she was, to which I responded, "then eat your pizza." It was all down hill from there.
She has become so particular about foods that she actually told me there are only 5 things that she will eat for dinner: hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, spaghetti and mac n' cheese.
I honestly just died a little inside. My kid refuses to eat anything but the norms you see on crappy kids menus. Even if it is delicious home cooked, organic and healthy, she refuses to eat it. Yeah I know, she is (almost) 6, but it drives me insane that I have to make two meals every night of the week, or bargain and fight with her for an hour before bed time.
The other thing about her "menu" is that she won't just eat any pizza or any spaghetti, it has to be pizza from a particular restaurant (I kid you not - this kid won't eat frozen pizzas or most delivery pizza) or a certain sauce on her spaghetti. I once switched out the marinara I usually buy with one I got from Costco and she was having none of it.
She also all of the sudden stopped liking snacks she used to eat daily: she will now only eat one brand of cheese sticks and no other, she stopped liking the kind of pickles she used to love, she no longer likes Fig Newtons (or Fig Newmans as we get at Whole Foods). She also is very particular about things in her school lunch: if a strawberry touches anything else in her lunch, she won't eat it and if the cheese is not out-of-the-fridge-cold she won't touch it.
I just don't understand where this is all coming from. She didn't used to be a picky eater, but here were are arguing over dinner most nights. I envy those families that can make one meal and sit down together and enjoy the same thing. Don't get me wrong, we have done that - on nights where I make hamburgers and hot dogs.
Thankfully I can still get Val to eat pretty much whatever I put in front of her. I guess I have 2.5 more years to go until she just stares at her dinner and refuses to eat, like her sister.