Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Little Gourmand

I've chronicled our struggles with Sean's poor eating habits before. For those of you just tuning in, here's a recap: See your right hand? With five fingers on it? That's about how many types of food Sean would eat. A veritable smorgasbord of grains (noodles, waffles, bread, bagels), a smidgen of dairy (grilled cheese, string cheese), an additional gram or two of protein (soy milk), plus more graham crackers and peanut butter granola bars than you can shake a stick at.

It boiled down to this: Park the boy next to a field of wheat and he'd be perfectly content.

Were we happy with this? Nope. Did we try every single piece of advice floating in the parenting ether about how to encourage picky eaters to embrace new foods? You betcha. Did any of it work? Not in the slightest.

We never gave up, though. We continued offering him whatever food we were eating, continued to make sure he was exposed to fruits and vegetables and nongrain food. We tried not to make food a Big Deal, we kept our anguish private.

Ever so slowly (think geologic epochs), a shift occurred. Somewhere along the way, Sean became more ... amenable, I guess, to trying certain food. He agreed to eat chicken fingers at a restaurant. ONLY at a restaurant. Then, over the summer, he grudgingly accepted an invitation to eat my homemade chicken nuggets (so fancy, that chicken cut up into small pieces, dipped in egg, and coated in panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese!).

Next up: carrots! He now can eat a carrot without complaining! Flush with excitement, I felt brave enough to attempt weaning him from his mainstay: ramen noodles (*Hangs head in shame* I know, it's probably healthier to eat cardboard. I try to expiate my guilt by telling myself that, hey, at least I don't put the 900 mg of sodium, I mean flavor packet, on them.) It's been a battle, but he'll now eat multigrain pasta.

This week, dear readers, he has been eating apples! Small bites, to be sure, and not with much enthusiasm. But the fact that this super-picky eater will now eat a meat, a vegetable, and a fruit makes me inordinately happy.

Today, apples, tomorrow, edamame! Or maybe at least celery.