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Is my son pretending to be a picky eater?

By Paige Herman-Axel on Aug 22, 2013

Back in the day, I actually read websites about baby/child development and milestones quite often. The introduction of foods was a particularly stressful time for me since I had no idea what I was doing, and one thing that stuck with me was the “you have to introduce a new food 10 times for the child to like it” thing. I tried a variety of foods over and over again, and eventually just said “F-you, Babycenter.”

Fast-forward almost five years, and my son is a very picky eater—or at least I thought he is. It’s not that he doesn’t like certain textures; it’s that he’s a creature of habit, and he gets stuck on eating the same thing for each meal every day. When he started school, it was a pita and hummus (all the other moms thought I was lucky that he’d actually eat hummus)—EVERY DAY. Then Costco stopped carrying the only pita he would eat (believe me, we tried them all), and lunch became a bagel and cream cheese. (Side note: No meat is allowed at his Jewish school—not that he’d eat meat anyway.) We had the same situation for breakfast (some sort of waffle, fruit and a yogurt) and dinner (usually a reduced fat hot dog or chicken nuggets and tater tots if I was lucky).

Then a funny thing happened when he started camp this summer… See, they provide lunch (and he ate a bagel and cream cheese every single day last summer) and we get a menu so we can give the kids a heads up. We also get a daily report of what they ate, whether they went #2 (because that’s important to stay on top of), and all of a sudden, my kid was eating chicken patties on a bun, hamburgers, rice (RICE?!?!?), cucumbers, carrots, and other foods that are absolutely mind-blowing to me. I even asked his head counselor how accurate these reports are because I just couldn’t believe it.

Now these are all things that I have made, or make regularly—so it's not like I’m trying to get him to eat anything crazy at home. But he won’t eat these things when I’m around. His new thing is, “I’ll eat that when I’m 5,” but guess what buddy, that’s less than 2 months away. At this point I think I’ll sit tight until that day comes—but when that birthday rolls around, he’ll be getting something other than a hot dog with his cake, because I’m on to him!

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