Monday, July 23, 2012

Veggie Wars

I was finally able to get Cameron to eat some sort of fruit or veggie... shhhh. He literally went over a year without ingesting so much as a pea, apple slice, or carrot... even "hidden" in his food. I tried doing the whole "juicing" thing, the pureed and hidden thing, the serve with every meal thing, hidden in sauces, or even veggie burgers. I Still served him a variety of finger food friendly veggies at every meal... breakfast, lunch dinner, snack. I tried offering him nothing but fruit and veggies for an entire day, and guess what... he didn't eat. I found some toddler meals, Chicken with Vegetables and Quinoa at Target.... omg He LOVES it. It has VEGGIES!!!! and they aren't even hidden really well. They are about $3.50 a meal, but hey, I will take it.

Before I found those meals, I got so frustrated one day that he wasn't eating ANYTHING. He was painting with his younger brother's baby food, so I finally just strapped him into his booster chair and plopped down. He fought me and didn't want anything to do with the spoon. The last time I could remember the kid eating a veggie knowingly was literally when he was still eating stage 3 baby food and I was feeding him. I took the spoon and I shoved a mouthful of baby garden veggies into his mouth. He fussed a bit, then I took the spoon and ate it going MMMM the whole time.. BTW, very bland and not my idea of good veggies, but edible. I like my veggies Paula Dean style, with BUTTER... and a dash of seasoning. 
 After a few spoonfuls being shoveled in, he started anticipating the spoon and reaching out with his lips wanting more. It was like the kid was trying to win a timed hotdog eating contest. I am guessing he couldn't get over some sort of sensory issue....maybe it is the spoons, although we have metal, plastic, all sorts. Before that, he ate meat... preferably chicken, nutrigrain bars, french fries, chips, chocolate chip cookies (not any other kind of cookie either!), apple juice only, vanilla pediasure with fiber and milk. I supplemented with a Flintstones chewable vitamin daily. He didn't like gummy vitamins or gummy fruits. That's it. He didn't ever transition well to the whole finger food thing when it came to fruits or veggies. I tried, trust me. At that time, I was basically told by a pedi and several family members... they will eat what they need to eat, and to just keep offering. It never occurred to me that he might actually LIKE baby food. I initially stopped serving baby food when he started refusing to let me feed him with a spoon. I, Instead gave him a spoon and kiddie fork which he has YET to use on his own properly. They are playthings to spin, or stab at the table with. I still give him an appropriate set of utensils with every meal, and he has made progress and has begun stabbing things on his plate with a fork, but he is going nowhere near his mouth or face with food once it is on the fork.
I began serving him baby food right alongside his baby brother. I usually did this every few days, and each time, he fights me for the first one or two spoons, but then devours whatever I serve him. Within 2 days of him eating that first jar of veggies, he began muttering a series words and sounds. He began saying 2 word phrases like "sit down" , "up down" "I love", and "shooey stinky". Holy cow! it was a language explosion. In one week, he said more than he had in several months prior. Seriously. I began looking for an alternative to breaking out a baby food jar for a nearly 3 year old, and found those toddler meals. He has tried the gerber ones, and I haven't been successful at noodles, ravioli or rice, but quinoa is so small and fine, it doesn't bother him. It DOES still look kind of funny, me sitting there spoon feeding an almost preschooler, but so be it. With the language explosion and imitation I am seeing, If I have to spoon feed the kid through high school, so be it. Eventually, I am hoping to move to other textures, and working with him on using a spoon and fork on his own, but it might be a month or more before we tackle the next hurdle. I am going to consider the veggie wars over for now, and count my blessings that he is willing to eat them again. I will still serve him the "real deals" on his plate at dinner so it looks just like my plate, but so far, no more progress on that front has been made.