Today I had one of those "I-really-can't-believe-I'm-actually-doing-this!" parenting moments. Of all the struggles I imagined I'd have as a parent, the thought of having a picky eater never even crossed my mind. Neither Josh, nor I, are really that picky, we're simple, but not picky. Just avoid mushrooms and bizarre international fare, and we'll pretty much eat anything. Anyway, Jonah, despite looking and acting in every way just like his mommy and daddy, WILL NOT eat vegetables. Period. Unless you gave him pureed baby food, but I'm sorry, you're going to be 3 buddy, you're just a little past the pureed stuff. So, today, in a desperate attempt to get him to eat a couple cucumber slices, I bargained. And I bargained. I made the most elaborate ice cream sundae with chocolate chip cookies and chocolate sauce - and I ate it in front of him (after I ate my vegetables, of course).
My attempts were futile. He would prefer to just get down and skip supper. Not wanting to send him to bed hungry, I came up with a last ditch attempt to get him to eat. A bite for bite trade. One bite of cucumbers, for one chocolate chip (he was going to get them on his ice cream once he was done anyway, so what difference did it make if he ate them on an installment plan?) You have to understand, I can't even get him to put a vegetable in his mouth to even try them! So, if incentive is what he needed, incentive is what I would give him. He quickly shoved a piece of cucumber in his mouth and swallowed it as fast as he could - he was not going to chew it, no way, no how. Well, I guess he learned that the good Lord gave him a set of chompers for a reason. He choked until he almost puked. Don't worry, the Heimlich wasn't necessary, but I was out of my chair and at the ready!
I handed over a chocolate chip.
I could now see that there was no way he was going to chew the cucumbers even if he was willing to put them in his mouth. So, I proceeded to slather them in salad dressing and chop them into tiny pieces, essentially do the chewing step for him, so he could just swallow the mouthful. It worked beautifully! A bite of cucumbers for a chocolate chip and before we knew it the cucumbers were gone!
Now, by no means, would I ever consider this as an actual strategy for getting picky eaters to eat, 1) because it's horribly pathetic, and 2) because I know I've just set myself up for problems. But, as unconvential as it was, it was a small victory for us and it made us both quite happy!
Sometimes, we don't even want to bother trying something in life that requires stepping out of our comfort zones because it's easier to just skip the "ice cream sundae". But, sometimes, just a little taste of what's to come can be all the encouragement we need. And so worth it in the end!
He practically licked his sundae bowl clean!