Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Moving beyond pizza and PB&J

Gogo is a picky eater. We're not sure how it happened, but there is a long list of foods that she just will not try...any kind of ground meat, beef, any vegetable, any chicken not breaded and shaped like a nugget, any meat that is not chicken, grilled hot dogs (she doesn't like the grill marks), many fruits, pasta sauce (although she'll eat it on pizza), and strangest of all, chocolate (and consequently, anything brown).

It was awkward when she started preschool and the teachers expressed concern about the fact that she hardly ate anything at lunch. They eventually got used to it. Strangely, I don't recall her previous daycare provider ever having trouble getting her to eat anything.

We’ve tried doing the "four bites because you're four" routine, and it's torture all around. We arrange the food on her plate to show her what constitutes a bite, and each one gets broken down into teeny tiny pieces, which she chews forever, making faces and shivering with the disgust the whole time. We end up instructing her to take a drink and just swallow. We know she's not going to choke on what's in her mouth because it's so miniscule, but it just seems like a bad thing to advocate.

The strangest of all is her aversion to chocolate. We have no idea how or when it started or if she ever tried it. She won't eat anything brown (except peanut butter) because she thinks it's chocolate. In some ways, this works in our favor. If we don't want her to have something, we tell her it's chocolate or that it has chocolate on or in it, and she backs down. On Halloween, we get half of her candy because she doesn't want the chocolate. But it's also embarrassing when she notices that someone gave her something with chocolate and she declares that she wants something else.

On St. Patrick's Day, we managed to get her to eat corned beef, potatoes, and carrots by promising her a green milkshake for dessert. The milkshake was made with mint chocolate chip ice cream. We warned her that the brown was chocolate but assured her that she wouldn't even notice it. She hardly touched the shake, but we don't know if that was because she actually filled up on her dinner or because she was freaked out by the chocolate bits.

On Saturday, we went shopping, and Pete bought a box of Girl Scout cookies from a group of Brownies. All they had left were Tagalongs and Thin Mints, and since Tagalongs are his favorite, that's what he bought. In the car, Gogo begged for a cookie, even though we told her they were chocolate. "I like chocolate now," she protested. Pete handed her a cookie, and she got it close to her mouth, said "yech," and made a face. "I don’t like chocolate," she said. A few minutes later, she wanted to try again.

Pete decided to take charge. He said it wasn't natural for her to be so anti-chocolate. He doesn't care for chocolate but doesn't refuse it either. My grandmother, who claims Gogo gets her dislike of chocolate from her, is known to always have a tin of Cadbury's cookies in the fridge.

He handed her a cookie and told her to take a big bite. After much coaxing, she did. Oh, how I wish I had the camera with us. I have never seen a child's eyes filled with such delight. She loved it! "I like chocolate now!" she declared, and this time, she meant it.

We waited a couple of days before trying to get her to eat something else new. We were grilling for dinner tonight and decided to offer her a cheeseburger. She resisted a little, but when reminded of the chocolate cookie, she decided to try it. Another success!

No comments: