Posted by Fitz

I’ve been inspired.  You see, I have a relative who I truly look up to.  She is one of those people who always seems cool, calm, collected, and organized, all while being authentic and true to herself.  I like to think that I share some of these qualities, but mostly we just share the same name.  Let’s just call her K for today.

We had a chance to visit with K and her family a little while ago, and I was so impressed to see how she feeds her two gorgeous children.  While The Bean threw most of her meal at me and begged for a YoBaby like a street urchin looking for a penny, K’s kids happily munched on quesadillas with roasted peppers, pepper jack cheese, guacamole, steak and grilled corn.  I have to admit, I was a little taken aback…and duly impressed.

You see, in my house, I’d gotten into a rut where I’d make The Bean one of the four things she’d eat consistently.  She’d eat, and when my husband got home an hour or so later, the two of us would eat.  Sure, we’d offer Beanie some of our food, but she was full then and not interested in trying anything new.  It turned into a vicious cycle where I wouldn’t offer her new foods because I knew she’d refuse them, and she wouldn’t try anything beyond her staples because she knew she didn’t have to.

When I asked K how she handled the food thing with her kids, she said something that I’ve heard over and over again in my head since we saw her.  I’m paraphrasing, but here it is:  “You know, I just got to the point where I decided I wouldn’t make two different meals anymore.  If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat what is in front of them.” 

I know that many of you are sitting there reading this and saying, “Duh, Fitz.  Of course that’s how you do it!”  I, however, was afraid of what would happen if I took the leap.  Would The Bean starve to death, frightened by the sight of marinated chicken and – gasp! – salad?  Would she try a noodle that wasn’t in plain sauce?  The only way to know was to give it a try.

For the past week, The Bean has gotten a miniature version of our dinners.  Sometimes it has just been the two of us eating if Daddy’s getting home late, and sometimes we have sat down as a family.  All I know is that my Bean seems thrilled to see that we all have the same food on our plate.  She points every item out, and says, “Mommy has sweet potatoes, Daddy has sweet potatoes, and Beanie has sweet potatoes!”  She loves the game where she has a bite and then Daddy has a bite, and has tried more things in the past week than in the past six months.  So far, she has eaten non-breaded chicken, pears, sweet potatoes, pork chops, turkey burgers, fish, and zucchini.  This is HUGE.  HUGE!  It feels silly to say, but getting her to eat a more varied, nutritious diet seems like it might turn out to be one of my greatest accomplishments in life. 

K helped me see that you can get over some of the stories we tell ourselves about why certain things won’t work.  Why our kids won’t like them, the million reasons we have to keep things status quo.  In this particular case, I was a huge contributor to The Bean’s pickiness without even realizing it.  I’m sure we’ll find some foods will still be on her NO WAY list, but at least she’s being a little more adventurous.  With her help and continued advice from K, I think I can be, too.