Do you have a picky eater? Here, take mine!

Once upon a time, there was a baby who loved to eat. He was hungry all the time. I literally could not snatch my boob out of the mouth of this little guy. Then, he turned into a toddler. Yes, I see you rolling your eyes.

That toddler would not eat ANYTHING. I mean NOTHING.. except for a block of cheese and the occasional bread. No purees, No cereal. I almost cried the first time he ate pizza. Yep, I was so happy after months of trying. So, now I will describe to you the steps to feed my toddler. In case, for some reason, you will be the one feeding him.

  1. When he’s playing, casually announce that you are cooking something special for lunch. Say it with “Yum, Yum.” and gesture wildly like an idiot.
  2. He comes into the kitchen and goes through the refrigerator. Be prepared. (nothing he wants to eat should be in the fridge except that one light snack placed where the chocolate should be). He will browse and eventually arrive at that snack. Fine, you can have it.
  3. Cook what you need to serve.
  4. If it’s cheese toast, make sure the cheese is not runny. It CAN NOT be sticky. So, make sure to take it out of the oven at exactly 10 minutes and leave it on the counter until it sets. If it’s pasta, make sure there’s butter on it. But, you know that CAN NOT be sticky either. So, you are going to have to leave it until the butter sets. If it’s chicken nugget, make sure it’s that brand without the textured crust. He likes the crust to be CRUNCHY. But, he DOES NOT like GRAINY.

5. Once you have a plate in front of you. Make sure that the CORRECT utensil goes with it. Tooth picks go with chicken nuggets. Fork goes with pasta. If you are serving a sandwich or cheese toast, all must be cut up in TRIANGLES. I don’t know why, that’s how my little guy likes it. No, circles will be rejected.. squares will be tolerated until the 3rd bite. Rectangles: forget about the rectangles.

6. Okay now you have the plate, ask him if he wants to set the table. He goes to his play kitchen and sets the table with his play folks and play spoons. That is okay. Perhaps it’s better. You resort to presenting your plate onto the play table next to his toy plate settings.

7. He takes one look at the plate and says, “Nah…”. Then, pushes the plate away. You roll your eyes, “Why? It’s a good meal!” He runs away to play with other toys in your office.

8. You go back to the kitchen and start devouring the plate yourself. In the midst of the morning, you forgot to eat breakfast. Fine, Let’s wait. Maybe he’s not hungry. Let’s go play. You play a couple of chasing games. You try to tire him out. He jumps on the bed for a bit. He plays with water at the sink. Finally, you tell him to take a bath because he made a mess with the water.

9. While he’s taking a bath, you rummage through the fridge to find that package of burgers in the freezer. You pop it in the oven and feel proud that you actually have a backup.

10. When he’s out of the bath, you serve the burger on a plate. You make sure it’s just the right temperature. Also there’s enough cheese on the corners of the burger so that he can examine it. It’s 2pm. He hasn’t eaten since 6 am in the morning. You are hoping this is it!

11. He takes one look, picks the burger apart. Then, he decides the side with the cheese is too sticky. The side without the cheese is too plain. So, he does not eat the bread or the burger.

12. What the EFFFING? At this point, he’s really hungry. You offer cereal, but he does not like the non-sugary kind.

13. You can literally feel the meltdown coming. So, you resort to getting him dressed quickly. You pop him in the car and grab your bag.

14. You drive to nearest drive through or the supermarket. The little dude falls asleep from the rocking motion in the car.

15. Great, I guess it’s the drive through. You drive to McDonald’s. You pick up McDonald’s cheese burger plain with nothing on it. Then, you drive to the supermaket and wait in the parking lot until he wakes up.

16. Now it’s 4pm and little dude wakes up. He’s hungry and cranky. You put him in the stroller so that you can get shopping done. You offer him the cheese burger. He pushes it away. He’s now TOO hungry to eat.

17. You go to the supermarket. You arrive at the fruit aisle. He starts to throw a tantrum. You decide to appease him with some grapes. That magically works. You decide you made the right choice in coming out. You buy grapes and other fruits just in case.

18. You drive home. He eats a bunch of grapes in the car on the way home.

19. Now, he’s eaten. You think he’s happy. When you arrive home, he’s still hungry. You serve the cheeseburger you bought at McDonald’s. Magically, he eats that too.

Now, you are done. You can rest for the entire night now that he’s eaten. It’s 6pm, you need to cook dinner for the family.

Does that sound fun to you? I’m sure you have your brand of picky eater too. But, seriously, our days totally revolve around my picky eater’s eating habits. I can’t wait until he’s past this stage. I’d like to move on. I’d like to stop eating all the food that he won’t eat!. I like to get skinny for a change!

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Writer, Technologist: Tech|Future|Leadership (Forbes-AI, Behind the Code)

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