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March 05, 2013


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You're doing JUST FINE. I love schnitzel and meatballs. I've never had goulash, but would love to try it.

Thanks for the very sweet comments about 11D and the gang of commenters. We try to have fun.

New York City Math Teacher

As Henry progressed further and further into toddler independence, he's been refusing a lot more food, and that screws with my head. We've been exposing him for the requisite ten to fifteen tries, but he's been refusing old favorites. I really don't want his repertoire of foods to be restricted (we had been getting him to eat foods like sauteed tofu with sansho, skirt steak with parsley sauce, codfish tacos with sour cream and lime, and broccoli with garlic and butter), but now it's more and more yoghurt, bananas, and bread. So, we suck, potentially. (We had a guest once who would eat nothing but fried chicken cutlets and grapes. I don't want Henry to go down that route!)


Christine Forber (@xinef5980)

When my younger son, now 19, was MUCH younger, I once said "Man may not live in bread alone but T could!" As as an adult, he has broad taste in foods. So, my only suggestion is to be patient, serve a wide variety of foods and encourage tastes of each whenever they are served.

And Claudia, I love your blog entries and read every one. So you do have at least one reader left!!


Christine - thank you! I was a bit tired of the blogging. Also, being in Germany doesn't qualify for "expatria" and seems less interesting to me. And then, of course, real life. It keeps interfering.


1. Don't panic. Think about it - toddlers are becoming more independent from you; they walk, they talk, they have their own minds. Yet his parents decide every little thing for him, right down to the socks he wears. The only thing he can really truly control is what goes into his mouth. That's his only power, to eat or not to eat. He would be a sorry excuse for a toddler if he didn't figure that out and then run with it. He behaves like a normal child of good intelligence.

2. Don't panic. Now that we know it's powerplay, relax. Don't engage in it. He wants to make decisions? Good - offer him a variety of foods and let him make decisions. It grows his self-confidence, his independence, his ability to actually make decisions. Deconstruct your own food (really, that works miracles) - put the cod fish, the taco, the sour cream, and the lime in four little corners on his plate. Let him eat what he wants to eat of this.

3. Continue offering him a great variety of foods, and let him choose - but let him see how much you enjoy your own food. Be smart - don't pressure him, lure him.

4. For bigger kids, I use little tiny bowls a lot, and restricted amounts. Everybody has to eat three beans. One blob of avocado. Two bites of lentil patty. That sort of thing.

5. I always offer raw veggies at dinner. If someone doesn't fill up on dinner, they can fill up on the veggies. It's healthy and the lack of a proper dinner once in a while won't actually kill them.

6. Be prepared for really odd quirks, like "no white foods", "no foods touching", "no tomatoes", "plain pasta" for weeks on end, "cucumbers give me a headache". Remember: powerplay. Give them the safety to be odd about their food choices. Mostly, MOSTLY, they will expand their food choices as they grow older. It takes a lot of patience and trust.

7. All people have some foods they dislike. I can't stand garlic. Doug doesn't like shellfish or gummy bears (really, how weird is that?). My friend doesn't like ginger (oh, the world that is lost to her!). It's okay.

8. Don't panic. I read that there is an evolutionary reason for rejecting foods. As toddlers get more mobile and can move out of the cave without supervision, they are in more danger of eating, say, that poisonous berry over there. Evolution makes the kid safe by making it reject new foods.
Mmmm, maybe. It doesn't explain why kids suddenly reject favorite foods. It comes like a lightning bolt out of the blue. "I don't like lentil soup anymore." Really? WHY? There is no reason, not really.

9. Don't let him mess with your head, or, at least don't let him see that he messes with your head. Your strategy needs to remain cool, offer him food, and let him be. It's hard, but it isn't. ;-)

Oh, and obviously it's good for him to make more decisions on the whole. Give him two pairs of socks and let him choose. Ditto with the pants, t-shirt, etc. Only two options because otherwise he gets overwhelmed. He will LOVE to get his word in. This playground or that one? This game or that one? This book or that one? It will make eating time easier, as well. Odd but true.

Christine Forber (@xinef5980)

Love your comments about decisions. If we don't let our kids make decisions while little, how do we expect them to make the bigger decisions as they get older?

Eg, I let my boys pick their hair cuts from the time they were able to express a preference. Buzz cut? Sure. Let it grow, sure. I told them that they needed to talk to me if they wanted to dye it or anything more expensive than a basic cut but I didn't interfere otherwise. Great way to learn to make a decision and have to live with the consequences.


You are doing more than fine. Your posts about all the fresh air and apple picking are evidence. It's impossible to eat perfectly (and I can find flaws in her list too). It's about being mostly healthy .. And raw veggies at every dinner is brilliant.

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