Hey Frank, what do you want for lunch? It was a simple question. It’s not like there is an entire menu to pick from. The kid subscribes to the four basic food groups: chicken nuggets, squeezable tube apple sauce, squeezable tube yogurt, and PB&Js, light on the PB. But still I get, Daddy! I need options! Well how many options can there possibly be when you’ve narrowed your nutrition intake to Jelly on bread?
Wasn’t always this way. Oh no, for a time the kid ate everything in sight. For the first three years or so the kid was a human garbage disposal. He was our first so we were like most parents I guess. We went hyper-sensitive on how and what we fed him. Tracy even decided that for the first year we would make our own food. Yeah that was great. The making was easy actually. It was the clean up that was soooo much fun, ya know for me personally. You veterans of Frank’s Place can explain for the new kids.
There are several mile stones to be celebrated in the development life of your kid. I mean getting out of diapers is awesome, akin to man landing on the moon. But one of the most liberating was when the pediatrician says at the one year check up, Let him eat what you eat. Now’s the time to experiment. Ah wut? Yeah, experiment. Find out what he likes, what he doesn’t, what he may be allergic to, etc…
You know, I never had one of the science kits as a kid. I ordered a experiment book about magnetic poles once when I was a wee lad. It was supposed to have all these cool magnets and experiments about the earth’s magnetic poles. I was pretty excited, and as most adults who know me now will tell you I don’t get excited over much. Damn thing never came. Didn’t ship, lost in transit, mail order scam? Who knows? Getting to turn my first kid into a living breathing food laboratory is the cosmos way of righting that long suffering wrong.
So with that bit of karma in my pocket we began letting Frank eat from our plates. My plate, as you might imagine, was a waste land of what Frank now describes as Woe Foods, foods that are bad for you. But man he loved him some beef and broccoli, General Tso’ chicken, tacos, burritos, pizza, eggs, bacon, cheeseburgers. You name it the kid would neck it down.
Of course we made him some good stuff too. In fact the only vegetable he didn’t like was cauliflower. Is that really a surprise? Can anyone tell me a good use for the albino of the food kingdom? While the boy was fond of jamming broccoli two fists at a time into his cake-hole, butternut squash was his favorite. That’s some nasty stuff. But he loved it se we made it.
Now Frank is actually the one who regulated himself off the good stuff and onto the vegetables. Yeah I said it. We thought we had done so well, creating our little franken-eater. It was a lot of fun to take him out to restaurants and not need a kids menu. The gang who owned the Mexican joint up the street used to love watching Frank take down a burrito, or the chili queso. It was great. Then he turned 3 1/2.
When he started to develop the vocabulary to ask for his own food, his palate changed. All of a sudden broccoli and carrots is all he would eat from the vegetable community. The only chicken I could get him to eat were of the nugget variety. He no longer wanted to muckle my Italian sub from Firehouse. All he wanted was a peanut butter and jelly, heavy on the jelly. Much like Frankenstein and fire, Frank would recoil at the sight of squash.
I would make elaborate breakfasts like always, a little hazelnut french toast, bacon, and a jelly biscuit to get things rolling while waiting on the french toast, only to hear Frank say, I don’t want that, I don’t like that. Crushing.
So now when he’s hungry he’ll stare into the pantry and say, Daddy you choose. Of course when I choose he says he doesn’t want it. This little culinary dance will go on for two or three choices until I give up. That elicits the exasperated, Daddy I need options!
Frank, all you have are options, what you need is the ability to make a decision. And no marshmallows and pizza is not an option at 10:45 in the morning. In fact that’s never an option. Forget that option. For ever.
Thankfully his love of carrots has survived. So a PB&J with some carrots on the side it is.
Franken-eater is gone. But his little sister, Ms Franken-eater is on the rise.
No fully loaded bacon cheeseburger is safe.
Aww! I feel like my palate is similar to a 6 year old’s, actually. For Maggie’s wedding, the venue manager offered to save me one of the children’s plate options (chicken fingers and fries) and I seriously thought about it for a good two minutes. But I think this is literally a phase that all kids go through. It’s how they figure out their preferences, test boundaries, etc.
(Disclaimer: don’t have kids of my own so what the hell do I know?).
My favorite (aka, only one I’ve read) book about eating habits/picky eating/whatever is this one:
A former picky eater turned cheesemonger turned foodie writer examines her own journey through food weirdness. She also dives into research about what might make someone a picky eater, or why kids go through phases of only eating like, yellow food or something, etc. But it’s a fun, entertaining read.
Oh God, now I’m hungry.
Well we will get a chance to see if your theory is correct as Anne Marie fast approaches her 3rd birthday.
Ah how they change as they grow! Love the description. He’ll come back around at some point for some of the previous food loves. I find it hard to believe you allowed a mail-order company to rip you off on your magnetic kit when you were young…you have changed too my friend 🙂
Hahaha Nice one Chief. Yeah I’ve hardened with age for sure.