First and foremost, thank you all for the compliments on the hair. I needed that. In the midst of struggling with THIS I was feeling a bit down. You guys picked me right up. Up so much that I went out and purchase new hair care products for the hair. Now I didn’t get all fancy and go buy some expensive salon stuff. I just move up a bit from the $1.97 shampoo I was previously using. Of course if you too call $2.99 a step up, I’ll like you even more.
So the internets secretly hate me for my success with food and my child. I can feel it. Like little daggers stabbing me through the computer. I know it. You are jealous. If I were on the opposite end I would be too. And don’t go getting all bitter that I can get my kid to eat. For every one of me there are 20 of you who can potty train you child with ease. Just the mere mention of the words potty training cause me to do a knee jerk and pour a glass of wine.
Why was I so successful with the food? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my kid. But what I can tell you is it was partially the power of observation. Remember, we had plenty of opportunity to be in orphanages during meal times. We took the time to look at what our child was being fed. Our other bonus is that we lived in an apartment for 3 weeks with our child, in Russia. That gave us the chance to eat “authentic” Russian food. Not that I cook real Russian food, but I used Russian ingredients.
What did this power of observation get me? A good understanding of why my son was so finicky when we got home. *GASP!* Did she just say that her child was finicky? Oh. My. God. I cannot tell you the struggles we had when he first came home. So much so that it would send me away from the table in tears. I am not kidding when I tell you that the child did not eat for 3 days once. He threw everything at me. People would think I was exaggerating, as I’m apt to do. But then they’d go to a restaurant with us and watch as my child hucked a plate at the other diners. My in-laws can totally vouch for that one.
After the 3 day fast I gave up. I didn’t want to battle any more. I revoked all feeding himself privileges. I fed the child for 3 solid weeks. No food was put anywhere near him. All liquids were in sippy cups. Snacks were supervised or non-existent. I became the food Nazi. At the first of the year I gave him back his fork. We would have a food throwing incident at least one or two times a week, but nothing like before. Heck, we still have a tantrum at the table on occasion.
I also insisted that he eat what was served. Or rather, no other alternatives were offered. If he didn’t want the chicken he could eat the potatoes and carrots, but no dessert was given for not finishing a meal. Yes, we eat dessert in this house*.
But, I cooked things that were not super exotic at first. From my previous experience with Russian food and particularly orphanage grub I noticed that no chicken was served. Ever. Meals in the boy’s orphanage consisted of a vegetable beef stew. The consistency was very soft and I’m sure it was quite bland. Once we got into the apartment we ate things like pelmeni** and mashed potatoes. I made a makeshift mac n’ cheese with pasta and american cheese slices. Breakfast was oatmeal or scrambled eggs.
Once home I minced the boy’s food. I minced it so fine it was like vegetable/meat paste. It was still what we were eating, but just very fine. People also thought I was nuts for doing it. I then mixed the minced food into mashed potatoes. I gradually let up on the mincing. Chunks got bigger and potatoes were lessened. I can’t tell you how many pounds of potatoes I was going through. At least a 5lb bag a week. Now I only buy 2-3 bakers every other week.
We also have a rule in our house that we don’t say the word “yuck” when it comes to food. The boy was taught early on to say no thank you if he didn’t care for something. But give him anything and basically he’ll eat it at least once. We went to the farmers market today and the child would rather have the smoked salmon samples than the mini donuts. I brought brie and baguette to my mom’s for my grandmother’s birthday part just so I knew the kid would have something to eat. He’s just funny that way.
Oh, and other than “trees” for broccoli I don’t make up names for food. He knows it is zucchini and onions that he is eating.
Are there things he doesn’t like? Sure. He’s in a no bean phase. I make killer beef and black bean burritos and he picks all the beans out. He’s not the biggest fan of tomatoes, much like his father. Green Beans are not his favorite vegetable. And whole bits of beef are difficult to get in him. He won’t eat things like steak. He did eat the Polynesian Flank Steak I made last week, but I don’t usually eat red meat and even I thought it was to die fo.
It really isn’t a secret. I just try lots and lots of things and never give up. I don’t make exceptions and I’m not afraid to let my child go hungry.
*This may explain this
**To this day the trusty husband won’t eat pelmeni