Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fruitless Parenting

Those of you with food-allergic kids understand how hard it is to figure out safe foods, especially when eating out.  Those of you with children period will understand how hard it is to get your child to eat healthy foods at all.

Mini will never, not ever, eat fruit.
Just to make life more interesting, mini is one of those picky eaters.  If she could eat pizza for every meal, she would, except for the meals where there may be a tasty mac and cheese or occasional french fry.  Unfortunately, while we try and find her something to eat when going out, in addition to avoiding anything that may have come into contact with egg, nuts or sesame seeds/oil, her pickiness has created yet another class of foods that must be avoided at all costs:


While mini will eat her broccoli, she can never be coaxed into eating fruit.  This weekend, in fact, yours truly was sent away from the kitchen table as she could not stand being in such close contact with a watermelon.  Poker Chick was forced to wash her hands after her snack before being allowed to continue to rousing game of war they were playing.  Then she was sent back again, this time to use soap.

You're probably thinking this is common, right?  Think again.  By "fruit" we mean anything that resembles fruit, is made from fruit, or contains some ingredient or flavoring that once resembled some sort of fruit at some point in its life.  No luck.  We tried the typical parent trick of hiding fruit in yogurt or muffins or pancakes but all that ensued was a subsequent refusal to ever eat yogurt or muffins, thus making her food repertoire even smaller.  Pancakes, peeps!

After trying pretty much every fruit there is out there, her desperate parents moved on to what we call "Phase 2: the "soft" fruits".  Phase 2 involved pureed fruits such as applesauce, all kinds of fruit juice, dried fruit (raisins) and "fruit" cups.

Phase 3 came soon after.  Phase 3 included things like apple butter, jam, jelly, and "it almost counts" type drinks such as lemonade.  Even the processed pink stuff next to the orange juice.  When that failed, we tried to focus our efforts in the dessert category.  Strawberry ice cream.  Key lime pie.  Ice pops.  Apple pie.  None of it worked.

Out of desperation, we moved on to Phase 4, which counted "fruit" flavored items such as "fruit" leather, lemon lollipops, froot loops, and starburst.  Hell at this point, toothpaste and vitamins counted if they were fruit flavored.

After several years of this, and an outstanding $100 reward to any adult, parent, teacher who could get the child to chew and swallow more than one damned piece of fruit, we succeeded in only the following:

1) Prune juice.  Duh.  What kid doesn't like prune juice?
2) Applesauce.  This one was quite useful, as it allowed her parents to crush and sneak in vitamins daily.
3) Ketchup (tomatoes are a fruit, you know).

Pretty sad, huh?  So after all this it came as a surprise even to Poker chick to learn that there was one category of fruit she hadn't tried.  You've been thinking of it all along, haven't you?

Yes, the ever popular, deep fried and salted fruit.

Sunday, mini went to a restaurant and ate fried plantains.  Unbelievably, she kept on eating them, even after we told her that she was really eating a green banana.

Plantains, as mini ate them
Plantains, as obvious fruit

There's only one logical conclusion after all of this.  We must get thee to a casino, pass go, collect our $100 and put it all on black, pronto.

Oh, mini.  Your mama is so proud.


Anonymous said...

Bravo Poker Mom! Bravo Mini! Your combined creativity and tenacity will allow you both to go far...

Wendy said...

Maybe tell her that she does not have to ever eat fruit again and in fact you don't want her to eat fruit at all. Reverse psychology might work. Or just don't mention it at all and see if she shows some interest. Maybe not, but the less concerned I act about what Ella eats the more likely she is to eat a varied diet.