iBear is a fussy eater. I was a notoriously fussy eater. Mammy was a bit of a fussy eater. We didn’t really stand a chance did we?
It’s probably one of the most testing times as a parent, trying to introduce new foods to a child. It’s also one of many times it’s made me think about my life as a child and what I put my parents through. Oh the pain and humility of realisation – I was a certifiable nightmare looking back. I remember the few times my Mam and Dad took me to restaurants and if chips weren’t on the menu it was game over. It must have been so frustrating for them.
Before I go on, I’d best clarify something. On the whole, I’d say iBear was fussy in that she has a reluctance to try new things. But when you actually think about it is she really that bad? If we were frequent your traditional, run of the mill pub/restaurant you can guarantee she would have the vast majority of things on the kids menu. Me on the other hand, would refuse everything apart from sausage and chips.
Asking her to eat some fruit normally results in (after a little persuasion) success and she enjoys banana, pears, oranges, grapes, apples and raisins. Me? Apples on a good day. And by good day I mean the best part of never.
Her go-to meals of choice normally revolve around pasta. Be it lasagne, spag bol, pasta bake etc or maybe a jacket potato with cheese. I was all about the mince and potatoes, sausages or fish fingers and nothing much else. We can even hide the odd bit of veg into the sauces with a maybe 75% success rate.
So on balance, maybe she’s not that fussy after all. She has developed a distaste for mashed potato though and we’ve had a few gag moments with that.
I think the main problem lies with her mindset and whether she’s in the mood to try something new. It’s like she’s reached her plateau of acceptable foods and is unwilling to try anything else. It took us forever to convince her gammon was to all intents and purposes, the same kind of ham she has in her sandwiches. Take the other day for example when we received a free sample of a malt fruit loaf bar and offered iBear one. Without thinking she took it, had a big bite, made the “hmmmmm” noise and wolfed the rest down. This was less than 48 hours of nibbling a tiny bit of a cheese and tomato pizza slice after saying it tasted funny (it didn’t).
We use a reward system whereby if she fills twenty bits of pasta into a glass jar (one bit of pasta for trying something new) she gets a present. This was on the recommendation of her Nursery a year or so ago after she started rejecting the food there. This works well but again only when she’s in the mood.
The main stumbling block is veg. That’s pretty much a no go. But then isn’t that fairly typical of a child? I don’t know the facts but I’d wager more kids refuse veg than eat it fuss free? I was 22 before I ate a full salad, I kid you not. The constant worry especially in these information laden times is is she getting the right goodness from her current foods to make her a healthy young girl. Part of my brain is now trained on the classic “in my day it was ok” and the other part on the “shouldn’t she be eating this by now”. As with everything to do with parenting, its a constant worry.
One Dads View
Despite my terrible fussy eater history I now actually enjoy most food (seafood being the exception). My taste buds didn’t develop properly until my early twenties but since then I’ve more than made up for lost time. So for now, I think we’ll keep on trucking with our current ways of offering her tasters of various things we have with our meals and see what happens when school starts. I’ll also continue to overthink it all as is my specialty…..
How were your kids with food in their early days? How did you deal with a fussy eater? I’d love to hear your thoughts.