On January 6, 2011, in this blog, I listed a few goals for the year, and I included, “Cook more nutritious meals for my family. Especially help Boy 1 learn to sample new foods and find more that he will eat.” That seems like an eternity ago, and such a naïve statement.
In the course of the year, I learned a lot about Boy 1 and how he operates. It’s been a journey full of growth and learning. I discovered that he has some sensory issues that are very real, and that he is not trying to be difficult, dramatic, or ornery.
A lot of parents probably would hear about his difficulties with food and assume that I just need to offer him the correct choices repeatedly until he breaks down and eats. Before this child, I would have agreed. However, and this is amazing to me, Boy 1 would rather go hungry than eat things that look suspicious.
In occupational therapy, he was encouraged to play with foods using his hands and body. That seemed to open doors for him, and dinnertime is changing at our house.
Over the last year, and particularly the last few months, he has added or tried the following foods:
- Grilled cheese sandwich
- Chicken nuggets
- Chicken drumsticks
- Asparagus (sampled and rendered favorable opinion)
- Breakfast sausages
- Thin pork chops
- Curly french fries
- Hamburger (reincorporated into diet)
- Lettuce/spinach leaves
Not everything on this list is healthy, but I’m beyond that now. I just want him to expand his palate, and it seems to be happening. We are especially glad to see him eating more meat. Dinnertimes are a lot happier at our house, which is a relief for everyone.
Occupational therapy encouraged Boy 1 to play with is food, which is hard for a parent like me (echoes of my mother’s reprimands in my head) to accept. I still wonder about how to do that at home and think it would be best if not at mealtime. But I have one great memory of all of us playing at dinner.
Boy 1 was resisting eating plain hamburger. I took it out of the bun and broke it into bits. Finally he started a “magic show,” where he passed the hamburger bit from hand to hand and made it disappear into his mouth. Not that amazing, but the rest of the family was pretty giddy and found it funny, particularly to see this kid enjoying his food. We all started pretending to be the crowd going wild, and his sister suggested that he was Justin Bieber. His name promptly got changed to Justin Eater. Justin Eater’s most amazing act was taking a piece of hamburger, lettuce, bun, and a curly fry and eating it all in one bite.
He like it! That’s triumph at our house.