Hello, if you are reading this you either have a fussy eater or know someone who has a fussy eater. There is perhaps a large chance that they cannot read this as they have taken to the bed with the stress of said fussy eater. They’ll do that to you, as you scrape the umpteenth pile of veggies and actually decent food into the rubbish. Through the tears you will reach for the door of the freezer, the arguments about what to eat starting after breakfast. The advice coming from my friends who also had fussy eaters was whispered across the table at coffee shops, half in code, half in wink nod, I caught most of it as I struggled to cope with the news that my then two year old had overnight decided that all food was poison, it was just very well disguised. Previously, he would have eaten anything, if I had served up the leg off the table he would have demolished it. That was my stubborn two year old, it was more important for him to take a stand than to banish hunger, part of me admired his spirit, but this was eroded by the smug parents. They ruin everything..
Did I not breastfeed? (For those of you long standing sufferers who did not breastfeed, this will also be asked of you if they fail their first driving test also.) Did I not baby led wean? (If you mean throwing food at him from across the kitchen because he wouldn’t wait for me to cut it/blend it/steam it until its life bled away slowly, then yes…) Did I know that he was going to have problems late in life with authority? (Yes, but that’s ok, daddy and I are hardly wallflowers) Did I not in some way force my child to eat past the point that he had cried so hard that he had thrown up? (I can only presume this is best practice in some circles) Had I really persisted enough? (I was leaving the room at this stage) Did we not establish good food habits early? (Ohhhh that was what I was missing, we eat food straight out of tins on the back door step) Did I try making a funny face from the veggies, you know, broccoli as ears, asparagus as eyebrows? (Fuck off!)
The truth was, there was nothing I could have done, my toddler knew only his own mind and on a wing and a prayer as we negotiated this new phase, we got through by figuring out that he would eat weetabix, brown bread sandwiches with cheese, burgers/chicken/meatballs with the odd carrot and shed loads of milk. In more recent years, it has emerged that he has a preference for food not mixing on his plate, plain food, and food with a crunchy or rough texture. There have been small wins along the way, eating homemade burgers, butchers sausages, peas, even a chocolate swiss roll! Until recently, when we had a major breakthrough. Carrot. He ate a whole carrot. The whole FUCKING THING. And he LIKED IT. Change was happening, and four years after the top secret, yet invaluable advice of, it really doesn’t matter what they eat as long as they are full try your best to make it as nutritional as possible, there is a change a happening.
I have taken advantage of his enquiries about getting muscles and running faster and we have had a number of conversations about what food you need to attain this. Coupled with daddy nodding very enthusiastically about the myriad of vegetables that he eats *cough* we are in a place where we tentatively made a list of food that he would like to try… After a brief heart attack where I showed him a fun picture of bangers and mash where the bangers were IN the mash, he agreed to try them separately.
Those of you reading this with fussy eaters will understand this as a major breakthrough, hang in there, it will happen. To those of you reading this in bewilderment, a quick word, there is nothing you can do, there is nothing to prevent this, and by the way? It can happen to anyone.