The subtitle of this post is: fucking food.
For the last few years I have been battling an extreme selective eater. But as a busy working single parent I am often not with my child for 3 meals a day. Then we went on a week long vacation.
Sloane eats these things and exactly these things: Quaker Oats brand chocolate chip granola bars, Velveeta Shells & Cheese, Mac and Cheese by Kraft (only the original no different shaped noodles), chocolate milk, sausage patties, bacon (but only microwaved and not if it's crunchy), Tyson chicken nuggets (only if prepared between two paper towels otherwise they are too greasy and served with only original Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce), pancakes w/ syrup, Campbell's original condensed chicken noodle soup, occasionally a french fry or two, toast or a bagel with butter, peanut butter but rarely, chocolate or brown sugar poptarts, Chocolate chip mini muffins, bananas, Lunchables (but only the turkey and she eats only the turkey), soft pretzels with cheese, plain tortilla chips and nacho cheese, pepperonis (sometimes will eat a few bites of pizza), hotdogs (microwaved between paper towels because again, too greasy), chocolate ice cream (in a dish not a shake, no syrups or toppings), popcorn, chocolate chip cookies and Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets (although she never eats a complete one she leaves one bite of each one at the end saying it was too spicy or too crunchy or too greasy).
That's 24 foods people. Seriously.
Nothing is a big motivator. People said she will get hungry let her go hungry. I did for 3 days. She only drank water and ate the first breakfast.
She gags over foods. Nothing no amount of bribery works. I can promise her the moon and everything on her Christmas list to try a bite of something and NOPE.
So vacation made me extremely anxious. Plus we were with my boyfriend, his two sons, and his parents for most of the time and for the first time.
Sloane had also never traveled to speak of.
The second night I sobbed myself to sleep.
It sucks that my kid has basically defined her life at this stage with this. It begins first thing in the morning with her worries and obsessing over what we will eat that day. If breakfast goes poorly it colors the whole day. Then I have to decide what to war over for the day. Every meal time and before meal time is a negotiation and I am fucking exhausted.
In the meantime do you realize how much stock we put into kids eating habits. Being a good eater means you are a good kid, you're respectful of authority, you're healthy and growing so well. Being a picky eater, well you're none of those things and you often don't only miss out on praise you miss out on rewards.
You never get a break from this until they are asleep. And then it just starts over the next morning. My pediatrician says not to worry, she isn't malnourished, she's growing etc. BUT for socializing and now for school lunch period this has made our lives hell.
As a parent I've bullied her, bribed her, tricked her (yes I tried the Jessica Seinfeld book) shamed her, coaxed her and starved her into trying to get her to eat and none of that feels very good for me or her.
We hardly ever go out to eat. Restaurants = stress for her and then stress for me. I'd love to go have a girls night out with her but so many reinforcers are about food in our society. Let's get coffee, go out to eat, have a frozen yogurt together, let's get donuts etc.
Holidays also make me want to just stay home and hide, because then there is the added pressure on the host/hostess to try and find something to make Sloane happy and frankly sometimes with food that just isn't possible, even if you serve one of her requests.
I'm also aware that this tends to be seen as a parent being too permissive, not insisting on nutritious foods and sometimes being selective themselves. Which does nothing to solve the problem and only serves to make the parent feel like a bigger pile of shit than they already do. Actually, I am not a selective eater. I eat extremely well, am an adventurous eater and have been from a young age. Anyone who says that a parent is too permissive is guaranteed never gone through the same problem with the same type of child. And I am not what would be considered a permissive parent by any other standards.
Everyone knows country music is for when you are sad....title from What She's Doing Now by Garth Brooks