Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tacky Princess & Picky Eaters

"In general, my children refuse to eat anything that hasn't danced on television." Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996 Do you, like Tacky Princess (and apparently, Erma), have one or more picky eaters in your house? Let's just see how you compare to my champs. Take the following quiz, and tally your results below.
  1. Does someone in your household regularly emit an audible sigh when you answer the age-old question, "What's for dinner?"
  2. Does the ketchup bottle spend more time on your kitchen table than in the refrigerator?
  3. Do you feel compelled to own stock in Hidden Valley Ranch?
  4. Does the Tyson family send you a Christmas card each and every year?
  5. Do you regularly find yourself saying, "I am not a restaurant. I am a mother. Deal with it."
  6. Do the folks at the McDonald's drive-thru lane greet you by name and ask if you'd like the usual?
  7. When your family is dining out at a restaurant where the kids' menu is more than $3.99 per child, do you still have a kid who insists on ordering chicken nuggets EVERY SINGLE TIME?
  8. If you answered yes to question #7, is it cause for a major meltdown if "said restaurant" doesn't serve "said nuggets"?
  9. Have you been known to disguise various ingredients within a recipe just to trick a family member into eating what you are serving?
  10. Is it a cardinal sin for pasta to have any type of sauce on it - EVER? Only butter and, if you're lucky, Parmesan?


All No's - Go back to Wonderland, Alice. Your life is too perfect. I hate you, and I can't deal with you.

One or Two Yes's - You are only minimally challenged by a picky eater, but it's not interfering with your day-to-day eating habits. Consider yourself lucky, and order in some sushi.

Three to Five Yes's - Some problems exist, but there is still hope. Continue to strive for dinnertime diversity, and you may just come out of this.

Six to Eight Yes's - Get help now. You are heading down a dark and dangerous path. Even drinking may not help you now.

Nine or More Yes's - There is no hope for you. You are one of us. Come to the next meeting of PEA. . . Picky Eater's Awareness. You'll never recover, but there is support. Lean on us. We're there for you.

Now that you know where you stand. Let's get something straight. I am a card-carrying member of PEA. My pickiest eater won't eat pasta with red sauce. She doesn't eat vegetables that have been cooked - unless you count potatoes. When she was three, I discovered broccoli slaw at the grocery store. I brought it home and knew right off that I would have to cleverly disguise this to get Picky Eater to even let it touch her lips. I tossed it with Ranch and Parmesan and proclaimed that it was "CRUNCHY PASTA!" P.E. had three servings. Still likes it when she's not thinking about what it really is.

Only likes strawberries if they are whole - can't be sliced and can't touch any other food. Yes, really. Doesn't like bananas, pineapple, plums, oranges. Of fruit, basically only likes apples, peaches, pears and strawberries. Veggies - even worse. Raw baby carrots and salad. Oh, yeah. And raw snow peas or sugar peas. P.E. doesn't like jelly - on anything.

P.E. orders a BLT - without the L or T. My sis has a P.E. who orders grilled cheese - "with not very much cheese!" Spare me! Loves to go to Subway. Orders a turkey sandwich with NOTHING on it. Plain. Keep in mind, P.E. is nearing adulthood. I'm pretty sure we're serving chicken nuggets with honey mustard and mac 'n' cheese at her wedding reception someday.

On the brighter side, P.E. loves my meatloaf, several of my other main course items and blows through a salad dressed with a good balsamic vinaigrette (preferably my homemade). Of course, hers can't have fruit of any kind on it - eeeeeoow! - God forbid, fruit touch any other food! Also, Ranch dressing? Loves it. But never on a salad. How convenient for all of us.

In spite of all of this, I adore P.E. Must be that scintillating personality, wit and charm that she gets from her mother's side of the family. :) And, every now and then, I comfort myself, knowing that she, too, will probably have her own P.E. (or two or three!) someday! After all, I was one, too, in my former life. I guess she gets that from her mom's side of the fam, too.


Blogger Pink Rocket said...

I so need help then! My son won't eat anything but candy/fruit snacks, popcorn, ice cream, chips/pretzels, fries, tater tots, dry cereal, cheese pizza and chicken nuggets. We frequent McD's and Burger King way too much! My freezer is stocked full of frozen nuggets! I've tried everything from forcing him to making him go hungry; which strangely lasted for a few days until I gave in.

12/07/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I so hear ya sister! For many years I could count on ONE HAND the foods my child liked. He didn't even like chicken nuggets or fries! He likes meat, cheese, yogurt, candy and fruit that has been canned in sugary, sugary juice. And orange juice. And I wonder WHY he's constipated all of the time!

I was doing a happy dance when I saw him eat fries recently. And now he even eats PBJ's and spaghetti! (heavy on the meat).

12/07/2005 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Nilla said...

My favorite thing to say at dinner time: "Eat it or be hungry!" Yeah, I'm a mean mommy- I'm not going to give them "something else". I have a very tight budget and special food ain't innitt. I have learned that ketchup trick though- pour it on anything and they'll even eat green beans.

12/07/2005 2:45 PM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

I've got two picky daughter and my husband. They both love their starches and my daughter is a dairy fiend. I really have to watch how much of it she consumes or else she will spend the bulk of the day grabbing her bum, asking me to rub it because it hurts. Because she's constipated. From too much dairy.

Chicken nuggets are a food group around here and so are "Cheerios and Floop Loops with no milk and no spoon, Mummy." And god forbid a smidgeon of sour cream or a piece of broccoli touches my husband's plate. They both have long lists of dislikes...I'm holding out hope for my 4-month-old.

12/07/2005 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Grumpy Dad said...

Very good topic. Had the same problem with my youngest, until we simply stopped enabling the behavior. Everyone now eats what the family eats, or goes without.

Lots of sad faces for a couple of days, but now the P.E. has discovered new things he enjoys.

12/07/2005 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

You've accurately described my 3-year-old daughter. Lately she only wants apple juice, apples, and string cheese for dinner. She loves McDonald's chicken nuggets and Wendy's hamburgers (plain, absolutely NO CHEESE on the burger or anything else thank you very much). I may try the eat this or starve tactic described by grumpy dad. Go grumpy dad!

12/07/2005 7:29 PM  
Blogger Leil Nymph said...

I tortured my poor mother.

I'll eat broccoli, but only cooked. I'll eat cauliflower, but only cooked. Can't have warm lettice. Can't eat cooked red or green pepper. Lentil soup makes me ill for days, and I've actually eaten stewed tomatoes and thrown them up in the bowl- honestly, couldn't tell the difference. Can't eat raw onions unless I didn't put them there myself.

I'm a vegetarian, have been since the age of eight, yet I won't eat apples, bananas, or brussels sprouts. I HATE UNRIPE FRUIT. I cannot eat a piece of fruit unless no one else will touch it for fear of bitterness- except for lemons and limes, which I snork down with relish.

What else? Have never in my life been able to eat an egg. I get nauseous just from smelling them.

Her revenge has come at last, however. My roommate will eat nothing but whole-wheat penne with marinara sauce.

12/08/2005 12:22 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

You child sounds like me, reincarnated. Man I feel sorry for my Dad. P.S. One of my kids will only eat cold cereal and mac n cheese. Pay back's a bitch.

12/08/2005 10:15 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Your. I meant "your". Forgive my hastiness.

12/08/2005 10:16 AM  
Blogger kari said...

First thing my stepson says when he enters my house is "I'm NOT eating pees".

12/08/2005 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I run my kitchen like grumpy dad. It is not a restaurant and we will all eat the meal that is on the table before us.
The kitchen 'closes' after supper is cleaned up and I do not make anything for the kids that chose to just nibble or not eat at all. This forced them to try some foods they thought they would not like and we did not make a big deal out of it when they did try something 'dreadful' like salmon and found they liked it. I respect there are foods that they just do not like and I don't force those on them - heck, I don't like everything either.
Ya have to pick your battles and good nutrition is one where we parents have got to come out on top

12/08/2005 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pink rocket, i hear your pain, and mine won't eat ketchup, or any other sauce item for that matter.

he has now boycotted all sandwiches, try packing a lunch for this person. NOT hot lunch? WHATEVER

and i've found that people who have mastered getting their kids to eat are kind of hard on me. until i bring up that as soon as they get their kids to keep their rooms spotless, or pick all their stuff up, then they can talk to me about my PE

I need support, bad!!!

12/08/2005 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 21 and i only eat grilled cheese if it doesn't have much cheese on it. I've never liked cheese or dairy (except yogurt), but i'll crave grilled cheeses once in awhile.
I also get subway and other made to order sandwiches with only turkey and lettuce. If the lettuce is brown in any way, i pick it off.

Honestly, i blame my mother. she didn't force me to eat things and she didn't make a real variety of anything. i didn't have a salad until i was 18. i think lettuce tastes like grass and i HATE dressings of any sort, except tiny bits of ketchup.

awful, i know.

12/08/2005 8:15 PM  
Anonymous d34dpup said...

my mom makes ya eat at least 1 bite of everything so we do but don't ever look at somethin n say i hate that cos then u getta lot of it n have 2 eat it ( i really really hate blu cheese dressing ...shhhh)

12/09/2005 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Nilla said...

um- don't they teach proper English and Grammar these days?

12/10/2005 8:37 AM  
Anonymous julie said...

Thanks for your awesome our school we call the Muffia, "The Mommies". As in "Hi, I'm Kyle's Mommie"- to which I answer "Hi...I'm Julie".
I fell outta my chair this morning reading your earlier "SDC" and Branson post. See...I live about 30 minutes from said city. For 30+ years, I've been going there. First, as a kid; now as a mom. We alternate years of buying season tickets for my own sanity. If ever a place needed a bar or beer garden...this is it. At least you all don't have to endure the commercials every year...the same one. "Have a silver dollar city christmas..." Ack! My kids made up this version one morning: Have a steal your dollar city's the coldest time of year...take time to buy more hillbilly junk...we'll see you all next year!

12/10/2005 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, my trick for making picky eaters eat(I have 2 of 'em): When the inevitable question is asked (ie. how much more do I have to eat?) For every year of their age, that is the number of bites they must take before leaving the table. My youngest picky eater has a love/hate relationship with cheese. On pizza, he'll eat the crust only. On a cheese sandwich, he'll eat everything BUT the crust. This is the kid that can eat his weight in raw broccoli and carrots....without dip! (gasp)

12/10/2005 9:28 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh we're just SO SCREWED MAN. After six yeses in a row I stopped answering honestly.

Gosh, poor Brad, Jr., Poor Brad, Oh even worse poor Agassi. Poor WHITE family (not racial, that's our last name). Poor, poor, poor us. No wonder I can't loose the rest of these stupid pregnancy pounds.

My healthy alternative - I fry the potatoes at home in a rotating deep fryer with Olive Oil - healthy (ier) in two ways: Olive Oil and the fries aren't submerged in the oil for the whole process. I mean, didn't someone once say Olive Oil was healthy?

Maybe not this way, eh?


12/10/2005 3:20 PM  
Anonymous slacker mom said...

In our house, ketchup is a mainstay at every meal and apparently tastes great on anything: eggs, pancakes, bananas, grapes, crackers, you name it! If there is something less than appealing on my daughter's plate, each bite can be completely submerged and coated in ketchup and it magically becomes edible. A few nights ago I was cooking chicken and realized I had really screwed up by adding dried basil to it. I quickly told my daughter in an excited voice that we were having polka dot chicken for dinner (with ketchup) and she gobbled it up! It's one more thing on the list of approved meals now, I take each small victory any way I can get it.

12/12/2005 7:45 AM  
Blogger tacky princess said...

Slacker Mom, way to go! That's like Crunchy pasta, see? Nothing wrong with a little embellishment for the sake of nutrition, right?! Keep up the good work!


12/12/2005 10:23 AM  
Anonymous d34dpup said...

u th grammer police nilla? u who r named after 1/2 a cookie? i hope u has 2 eat liver everyday the rest of ur life

12/12/2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger Crazy Lady said...

I have three PEs. The only way I can survive dinner time is because of The Rules. The rules in the Crazy house are: 1 - I made it, you will eat it. I never serve anything you truly hate. 2 - If you have not tired it before, you will try it now, 1 full bite for each year of your age (none of those tiny little mouse nibbles) 3 - if you truly, truly, TRULY cannot stand it, then you can make yourself a PB&J. Nothing else, just a PB&J made by yourself. Mama's not making it for you. 4 - never ever are you allowed to decide they suddenly hate a food. You ate it last time and liked it, you will like it this time.

12/13/2005 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at a school for disadvantaged youth (my class is 3 mos to 3 yrs old)and since a lot of these kids only get the meals we provide, they HAVE to eat what's on their plates. --These kids at least TRY everything (including brussel sprouts-blech) because they know that mommy and daddy can't afford to feed them later. These kids are good for me though, because I'm a super picky eater! By state law, I have to (at least make it look like) eat what the children eat, with them. And I often find myself gagging on food but saying "yuuuuuuum, this is SO good" because if the child doesn't eat, the child goes hungry for the next 16-20 hrs. So my advice is to follow the three bite rule (you can't say you hate it until after 3 normal bites) and NEVER substitute. There are children who would die to eat the food your kids are throwing away!

12/13/2005 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who isn't a picky eater these days? adults, kids, everyone's got their quirks or maybe it comes from living in NY where there are whole wheat, low-fat, carb free, sugar free, gluten free (and perhaps taste free) everything. where does the pickyness come from?

parents, i've got another question for you. where do you find the best advice for new parents? who hears you?

12/15/2005 4:17 AM  
Blogger Me said...

I have two picky eaters. Well, they're not picky just apparently I don't know how to cook the right food at the right time. Did i get it right? Are they eating green food this week? I keep telling myself they have refined palates,sophisticated tastes...when I'm not screaming that the kitchen is closed until the next meal and they can go hungry until then. Really... my kids won't eat things "normal" kids eat but they love lots of healthy things that kids are "supposed" to turn their noses up at... sushi, homemade yogurt, granola (I eat the Captain Crunch in my house). It's just another one of those quirky kid things. Ya gotta love'em, coz who the hell else will.

12/15/2005 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, but do your picky eaters throw up at will?
These words have actually left my mouth: "If you throw that up, so help me you will get a spanking like you wouldn't believe!" And sometimes that even works.

12/29/2005 9:25 PM  

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