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I Refuse to Give Into You, Children’s Menu

toddlers eating real fodIn the early days of Addie’s toddlerhood I prided myself on the variety of foods she ate and her willingness to try new things. As she grew bigger she required more food and shortly after that she developed an opinion. A few years later she learned how to read and her culinary life as I knew it was over. She was stuck in a world of chicken tenders, hamburgers, mini corn dogs and macaroni and cheese. Kid’s menus make my stomach churn, they’re always the same no matter where you are. Sometimes there’s a cheese quesadilla or some spaghetti, and it seems that everything comes with applesauce these days. I hate you children’s menu, I really do.

Starting last month the new rule in our family is if we are going out to eat for whatever reason, Addie has to try something new. Meaning yesterday instead of macaroni and cheese at Noodles & Company she tried Penne Rosa, pasta with chunks of tomatoes, fresh basil and a little bit of spice. She loved it and I patted myself on the back for a job well done. Thankfully at home the whole trying new things isn’t as much of an issue. You get to eat what I make or you go hungry period the end, if you’re not allergic to it? YOU’RE EATING IT. I’ve started getting a little more creative with dinners and most have been met with a “THIS IS REALLY GOOD MOM!” which, yay.

Vivi is still an adventurous eater. If you’re not careful her hand will be in your salad picking out all the tomatoes before you can even raise your fork and to be honest there isn’t much she won’t eat. Yesterday she had a tomato and cucumber salad as well as half of my pad thai, little twerp picked out all the tofu. One of the problems I noticed before instating our new “TRY SOMETHING NEW” rule was that Vivi insisted on having whatever Addie was having, and if Addie insisted on macaroni and cheese? So did Vivi. So far our new plan has nipped the problem in the bud and hopefully we’ll be able to find symbiotic ways to share food at restaurants and work around the whole children’s menu trap.

I’ll be honest, I hate to have my food touch, I don’t like tomatoes and chicken is not my favorite. But I’ve worked hard not to pass my own food issues onto my kids (aside from the partitioned plates, those just make sense.) There are times when Vivi is all for a new food and eats her weight in it, only to refuse it three days later. Other times she’ll refuse something new only to demand it two days later. All that crap about “Keep offering new foods! Someday they will try them and like them!” is true. Fine, okay? YOU WIN. I realize not all toddlers are champion eaters, whether it’s a food sensitivity, a sensory issue or allergies, but I know that as Vivi gets bigger and watches her big sister for everything, the crappy children’s menu was dragging her down the path of picky eating a lot earlier in life.

Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

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