Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Nov '09

Progress with a picky eater

Wes is a picky eater. You can offer all sorts of foods but 99.9% of the time his response is a clamped-shut mouth and frequently, now that he’s learned a new word, “NO!”

But recently we’ve had some breakthroughs. A couple weeks ago John and I got a some things from the fine eatery at Costco (pizza and a chicken bake), which we split between our two plates. Wes sat on my lap. Occasionally I would offer him a bite (see above about clamped-shut mouth and “NO!”). So eventually I gave up and enjoyed the food myself.

Then, after a few minutes, to our great astonishment, Wes reached out and picked up a piece of chicken and put it in his mouth. And chewed. And swallowed.

And then he did it again. He even tried a piece of sausage from the pizza (which took him about five minutes to chew). He didn’t eat much, but we were so glad he was willing to try some food on his own accord.

The other breakthrough isn’t quite so celebratory of Wesley’s own initiative. I learned this trick at the playgroup I take him to twice a week that’s for 2-3 year old kids with developmental delays. They end every session with a snack that’s designed to introduce the kids to new textures and flavors (again, see above about clamped-shut mouth and “NO!”). Wes usually leaves playgroup hungry.

The excellent employees there told me that sometimes to get a kid to try something new you have to force him. It’s not always pleasant, but they’re right. It works.

Last night for dinner we had pizza. I offered Wes a bite (you can guess what happened). So I pushed the pizza into his mouth and forced him to taste it. The result? He liked it and asked for more. He polished off an entire piece of cheese pizza and half a breadstick. That’s the first time he’s ever eaten pizza.

I also gave him a shortbread cookie covered in chocolate. He looked skeptical but finally took a nibble. And then ate four of the cookies in rapid succession.

This morning we had pancakes. I gave him his pancakes plain at first, but then I thought I’d try to feed him a chocolate chip pancake with whipped cream. He wouldn’t try it. But I made him, and he wanted more.

It doesn’t always work, like if he really isn’t interested in the food, but so far I’m having success in getting him to at least taste stuff he normally would just clamp his mouth closed at and say “NO!”

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