I was wrong.
First of all, I didn't actually get it before having a picky toddler of my own.
I was not, am not, prepared for this.
Obviously, my biggest concern is that she's eating enough of the right foods to be healthy. My second biggest concern is that she's just eating enough so that she's not starving. My third biggest concern is that she will JUST.EAT.SOMETHING without a knock out, drag out fight every meal time.
All my mommy friends assure me that she will not starve, so if she REALLY refuses to eat I (try to) not make a huge deal about it. And then have a healthy snack waiting for her later on when she's hungry enough to ask for it.
The pickiness started with just her veggies. When she first started eating 'real' food she chowed down on peas, carrots, corn, etc. But then she decided they were "YUCK!" I brought it up at one of her well-checks and the pediatrician just said to keep making them at dinner and if she didn't eat them it wasn't a big deal. She said she'd eat them eventually, one day as long as I kept offering them. Ok, so that's what I do. That was about 8 months ago. I think I've gotten her to eat 7 peas since then. So.... apparently 'one day' hasn't come yet. My mom declared, "Cover the veggies in cheese! Anyone will eat veggies smothered in cheese!!!".... first of all, I do NOT like cheese covered veggies, so not anyone will eat them.... but kids are weird, so I tried it. She ate 1 or 2 pieces of peas and corn and then realized that I was being sneaky and COMPLETELY REFUSED TO EAT ANYTHING ELSE THAT ENTIRE MEAL. She doesn't like being lied to. I don't blame her. But the cheese suggestion was a bust. I've pretty much given up on veggies other than spaghetti and pizza sauce, but still offer them at dinner time.
Being that we, Bean and I, are vegetarians (if she chooses to eat meat when she's older that's totally up to her) we do occasionally eat veggie Chik'n Nuggets and veggie Hot Dogs, so she does get some vegetable protein there. But whether or not she eats those on any given day is anyone's guess.
Which leads me to my biggest frustration; sometimes I think I've got a few of her favorite foods nailed down and feel confident making those meals for her. But then she'll completely refuse to eat her FAVORITES and then I'm back at square one and scramble to get her to eat anything.
I was reading on an online mommy-board about picky toddlers and the piece of advice I read most frequently said that toddlers L-O-V-E to dip food. "Give them a selection of condiments to dip their food in and they'll scarf it down!"
No. Wrong. Bean seems to think it's finger paint. Or make-up. Or a combination of the two because all she'll do is 'paint' with it, smear it on her face or cover her hands with it and then lick it off. But still not actually eat anything.
Last night I got so desperate I bribed my child with TV time.
N - Baby, you need to eat you dinner.
B - Nuh-huh!
N - Eat one bite, please.
B - glaring at me and shaking her head no
N - Seriously, you need to eat!
*tried to put a piece in her mouth*
B - freaks out, signs "all done" frantically, and clamps her mouth shut
N - ....................
*10 mins pass*
N - Bean-Girl! Eat some dinner!
B - NUH-HUH!
N - ....................
N - Do you want to watch Thomas? (The Train, of course.)
B - eyes light up, big smile, enthusiastically nods 'yes!'
N - heavy siiiiigh Ok, well if you want to watch Thomas you need to eat some dinner.
B - SHOVES food in her mouth.
N - Do you want to watch Thomas? Take another bite, please.
B - eats another bite. willingly.
Later, Rinse, Repeat until she ate 1/2 of her meal. I just sat there, shaking my head in disbelief. It OBVIOUSLY isn't an issue of her not liking her food because she will eat it - when she feels like it. It's a battle of the wills with my kid. She's not even 2 years old yet. This is bologna! I never thought I'd be bribing my kid to eat her food. I'm not proud of it. I'm not winning any mommy-of-the-year awards here. But at least my kid at her food, right? Right? *sigh*