Sunday, March 2, 2014

Picky Eating

Preston is a picky eater. A very picky eater.

Yes we make him try new things. Sometimes it's not a huge deal. Other times it ends in tears. And yelling. From both of us. It always involves Preston gagging. And in the worst cases he throws up whatever he's trying.

Sounds like a good time right? 

It's not.  It's really about as fun as it sounds.

Because of this it's something we choose to really battle at home.  Not at other people's houses.  Or in restaurants.  Just at home. 

Every single time we've fought this battle anywhere but home it ends with all of us completely worked up and stressed out and not a whole lot accomplished in terms of Preston trying new foods.  It's just the way it is.  It's something that is easier for us to deal with in the comfort of our own home without an audience. 

Let's be real.  Even at home when he's trying new foods it's stressful for all of us.  And has the ability to entirely ruin the meal for every single one of us. 

But when we are somewhere else it's just amplified.  Especially because other people try to "help" with Preston's picky eating.  And here's the thing.  It doesn't help.  Preston is incredibly stubborn so the more someone tries to encourage him to try something the less he wants to try it and the more he sticks to his guns about not trying it.  Something I'm very familiar with as he gets that fantastic personality trait from his Mama. 

Most of the time Preston's picky eating isn't a huge deal for us.  I've talked to his pediatrician about it many times and every time he assures me that it's normal and he's growing and that he's not concerned in the slightest about it being an issue for him health wise.  Brad and I are both picky eaters so it's not like it's a new thing to either one of us.  I mean Brad practically only ate pizza for years of his life.  Which ironically is one of the foods that Preston doesn't like.  And I refuse to even try certain foods because of the way they look or smell or just because it doesn't sound good.  So he comes by his picky eating pretty naturally. 

Every once in a while though the fact that Preston is a picky eater makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable.  It's never because of Preston.  It's always because someone else decides that they know how to "fix" it or oversteps their bounds. 

Last night was one of those situations.  Hence me feeling the need to write about it or get it off my chest because I feel so frustrated.

We were at a new friends house.  We'd all had a great time and were staying for dinner.  Knowing that Preston is a picky eater when we were invited over to play and have dinner I had him snack before we left and then packed things that I knew he would eat.  Things like strawberries to share with everyone.  A protein bar for Preston.  More than enough yogurts for all of the kids.  And then snacks that Preston could eat on the way home if he was hungry.  Preston's six.  He's been a picky eater for six years, this isn't new to us.  We know how to plan to make dinner not a big deal at someone else's house with him. 

I'd talked with  the Mom before dinner about Preston being a picky eater and then didn't think any more of it. 

I didn't think dinner was really going to be a big deal.  Like I said, Preston's six.  In those six years we've eaten at a lot of other people's houses.  It's very rarely a huge thing that he's a picky eater.  LOTS of kids are picky eaters.  

But it started when the boys came in from playing.  Nothing overtly rude.  Not even enough that while we were there I really thought anything about it.  But once we left and I thought about all of it, I realized apparently it was a big deal to her and it left me feeling both uncomfortable and a little irritated.  Asking Preston if he was going to try what she was making for dinner.  Telling him it would hurt her feelings if he didn't.  Making a comment when he got upset about having to eat the chicken on his plate about how there was so little even there.  Or about how much ketchup he used to eat the chicken.  Saying something about how her kids had to eat their dinner before they could have a YOGURT that I gave Preston with his.  Nothing that I thought much of in the moment.  But then again in the moment I was trying to eat my dinner, encourage Preston to eat his, participate in conversation, and entertain an eight month old.  But all things that I was bothered by when I thought about them on the ride home.

Thankfully Preston didn't notice anything.  He was too upset about having to eat any of the chicken and the strawberries not being "cold enough" (I'm not kidding when I say he's a picky eater!) and wanting to be done before his timer went off (he wasn't making a lot of progress eating which means I set a timer to speed things up), and wanting to be able to play again.  Dang dinner for interrupting the playing.

I'm not sure what the point of what I'm saying is.  Except maybe worry about your own child?  Not mine.  I really don't care what you feed your kid.  So I'm not sure why what Preston was willing to eat or not eat really made a difference to someone who had met him twice briefly.  I just hate that it keeps leaving me so irritated.  Especially since we'd otherwise had such a good day with friends.  I really think I just needed to get it out so that it wasn't bothering me so much.  I mean my poor husband can only listen to me ask him if he noticed it and it bothered him too so many times.  Ha! 

Besides one day Preston won't be such a picky eater.  He will outgrow it.  It's just the getting to that point that is rough some days.  Some obviously worse than others.  I just need to remember that everyone parents differently and while what a picky eater he is may be a big deal to some people it's just not something that stresses us out.  Not typically at least.

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