Thursday, May 8, 2008

The value of peer pressure

Saying Ethan is a picky eater is like saying Abby is a talker--it's a gross understatement. You might remember last year about this time when we went through a real battle with him. We won temporarily, but eventually he toughened up again. Right now, he will not eat anything except breakfast bars, fruit snacks, PB&J sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, crackers, or kid-friendly, non fruit based desserts. This is inconvenient, frustrating, and of some concern on a health level, but until I'm home and able to be the only one feeding him, there's really nothing we can do.

This problem rears its ugly head most frequently on Wednesday nights. We eat dinner at church on Wednesdays. From where we sit, Ethan has a clear line of sight to the dessert table, and as soon as we sit down he starts whining for cake or ice cream. We have gotten into this REALLY tiring routine of spending the entire meal repeating this exchange:

Ethan: Cake! Cake! Cake!
Me: Do you want cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Ethan: No!
Me: Then no cake.
Ethan: WAHHH! CAKE!
Me: Cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Chicken!
Ethan: WAHHHHH!

We have left church more than one Wednesday night without him having eaten a single bite of dinner--the boy has got an iron will. However, last night a new element was added to the mix that changed the results dramatically.

Our friends Chad and Marla have two children, Audrey and Avery, that are the same age as our kids. Marla's a few days away from adding a third baby to the mix, so she stayed home last night, and Chad was in charge of the meal, so Audrey and Avery sat with us. I put Avery and Ethan next to each other in high chairs, and put two chicken nuggets in front of each of them. Here's what happened:

Ethan: Cake! Cake! Cake!
Me: Do you want cake?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Ethan: No!
Me: Then no cake.
Ethan: WAAHHHH!
Avery: I want some cake! (she's a tad more eloquent than Ethan)
Me: Then take a bite of chicken.
Avery: Okay! (takes a bite)
Me: Yay! Avery gets cake! Does Ethan want cake, too?
Ethan: Yeah!
Me: Then take a bite of chicken like Avery!
Ethan: Okay! (takes a bite)

Are you KIDDING me?

I am a 31 year old woman with a graduate degree and years of parenting and child care experience. I have consulted with our pediatrician and countless other moms, and I have not been able to get this child to budge. But a cute blonde sits next to him and all of a sudden he's putty? Unbelievable.

3 comments:

RazorbackReader said...

Ethan is soooo wonderful!!! I love it! Now, I'm sure today, if you put chicken and cake back in front of him, he would want the cake and NOT the chicken! Don't you just love the influence other kiddos have! Gabe tries to be so careful when he's with Abby, Audrey, Jacob, ect because they want to do what he is doing!!! For the future, just make sure on Wednesdays you have him sitting next to Avery!!! My nephew was as picky as Ethan or worse and he is now a healthy 14 year old, still a bit picky about what he eats!!
Love you Ethan!!!
Kori "o)

Mellie said...

What a little man! :)

This must be frustrating! Does he take kids' vitamins? If he does, I wouldn't worry too much...he'll eat when he gets hungry enough. If he's eating cheese and peanut butter he should be getting plenty of protein.

Alice said...

I wish this would work for Mili's food issues. We have tried that method with her "see....your friend is eating ____" but it has not worked thus far.

I am tired of trying to figure it out. We are going on three years of this mess and it makes me crazy daily.

Good luck in getting him to continute eating.....maybe after this time he will understand and do what it takes to get him some ice cream.