NEWS FLASH!! Last night my son ate peas for the first time.
Ok, so it’s not ‘end of recession’ or ‘world peace’-type news, but it’s BIG if you have a fussy eater and it was such a momentous occasion in our house that I felt it worthy to write about.
What makes a good eater? Is it what they are exposed to from an early age or is it genetic? Of my three children, the eldest is by far the better eater as she will try anything; she has an interest in different foods, especially if they come from another country. When it came to weaning though, the champion of champions was my second child, who would regularly eat us out of house and home.
Cue child number three; the boy who breaks the mould. Is it because he is a boy and I am used to raising girls or is it because he is the third born and I have given up trying to force feed him fruit and vegetables?
I weaned my eldest with the enthusiasm of a first time mum who has the time to devote all her attention to making sure that her little darling is given the best quality home-made food and healthy snacks. Second time around I blamed the baby food market for the fact that there was suddenly a much wider choice of good quality ready prepared baby foods to choose from and only felt a little bit guilty for giving her these instead of something I made myself. By then, of course, if big sister was having a biscuit, there was no hiding it from my little hungry monster, so exposure to other ‘more exciting’ foods occurred at an earlier age.
When it came to weaning my son, I’m sure I made a few ice cubes of puree, but seriously, you do not get a lot of return from a whole bag of apples and pears; it seemed hardly worth the effort when, again, the baby food market had become even better. That said, I tried to give him all the usual types of finger foods that toddlers love – raisins, grapes, peas, sweet corn, Satsuma’s, cherry tomatoes, blueberries; you name it, I tried it. But no, he would rather have a chocolate spread sandwich. Sometimes when he was teething, it was the only thing he would eat, so of course I gave it to him. Looking back, it is in these situations that I would have been most strict with the girls, with the ‘you eat what you’re given or there’ll be nothing else’ policy, but I didn’t do it with my son.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. If I were to make a list of the fruit and vegetables my son will eat, it would actually make up a substantial list that is worthy of a balanced diet. I guess we tend to focus on the negative though and worry about what they won’t eat rather than what they will. Last night the subject of whether my son would eat his peas was never raised, as it usually is, because I never bothered to put them on his plate.
It was to our utter amazement then that he actually asked if he could have some and then voluntarily ate them; a mixture of initial disgust, followed by surprise shown on his face and a ‘more please’ request. Was it because we never mentioned them in the first place and he saw that he was missing out on something that we all had? Or have we turned a corner and our little three year old is now willing to try new things? I better not get too enthusiastic as it may just have been a one off fluke, but I live in hope. Sweet corn next…..