10 Ways to Manage Your Picky Eater: A Satire

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This is Weenie Man. Toothpick not edible.

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For the record, He would not eat this grape smiley face.

1. Deception: I bought chocolate Chobani and tried to pawn it off as “yummy pudding.” Ultimate fail? When he said, “I don’t like this pudding, can I have plain yogurt?” God Dammit.

2. Celebrating Mini Victories: Last night he had grapes, broccoli and olives for dinner. This was a major coup. He got a sticker, a prize and got to watch a show. I mean— my kid ate BROCCOLI! And he LIKED IT!

3. Parenting Skillz: When he doesn’t eat something, we threaten to give it to his sister. Officially giving him sibling issues and possibly causing our daughter’s future chubby phase. Amazing parenting right there.

4. Preventative Deception: Afraid of causing a “I don’t YIKE that!” meltdown, we have developed code words for certain foods. English muffins are called “circle toast,” almonds are called peanuts, cranberries are called raisins. You get the idea. Everything else he eats is called “just plain.” Just plain waffles, just plain bagels, just plain vegetables, just plain cereal, just plain yogurt— everything— just plain. I almost bludgeoned my husband with a frying pan the day he referred to the pumpkin pancakes I was making as, well, pumpkin pancakes. “They are JUST PLAIN!” [Imagine slow motion wide eyes as we look, in horror, to see if the toddler heard him say the word pumpkin]

5. HOLY CRAP! HE’S EATING! The few times I have actually gotten him a happy meal, I have sat, mouth agape, watching at how he tears through fries, nuggets and apple slices like he’s some “I eat like this all the time” toddler. I mean, it’s incredible. He eats ALL of it!

6. Creativity Counts: I made a hot dog into a person and called it a Weenie Man. And he still didn’t eat it.

7. Sweets: When we go to my mother’s, she lets him have three helpings of ice cream because “you should see how well he eats it!!!!” Yeah Mom, ice cream isn’t really the problem.

8. Choose your battles: One day I caught him drinking syrup. And I paused to think if syrup actually satisfied any of the four food groups. Then I offered him a straw to drink it faster. I mean, there’s got to be some calories in there, right?

9. The plain train: The only sandwich I can get him to bring to day care is a butter sandwich. JUST PLAIN, of course. My kid doesn’t even like peanut butter. Or jelly. Or meat. Or cream cheese. I mean, whose kid IS he?

10. Don’t you. Dare. Look at him: I buy into the “don’t look at him” mentality while he is eating. The second he catches you watching him take a bite, he stops and remembers to maintain full control over all meal times. Therefore you do a lot of looking away from your toddler during a meal. This is only weird when you are at Friendly’s and people see you openly trying to ignore your child. They probably wouldn’t understand if you said, “Well, if you look at him, he stops eating.” No, that sounds crazy. I’d rather be perceived as the ignoring parent with the well fed child.