October 15, 2005

The kid who was afraid of pizza

While we were sharing a meal last weekend, my friends and I started talking about kids and food. The conversation began seriously, since several of the women were concerned about not making food an issue in their homes. We were talking about eating disorders and binge eating, and women's issues about their bodies. We talked about the dangers of food become a control issue between parent and child.

My method with my own kids is pretty simple: I try to have only healthy food in the house (not always succeeding, of course), and I let my children eat whatever they want whenever they want. I don't use food as a bribe or a treat. Food is just what you need when you are hungry. The method fits with my style of parenting, and my daughter grew up to be a young woman with healthy eating habits and a good body image.

I told my friends my theory that there are many foods children don't really like because their taste buds are very sensitive and because certain textures are hard to chew. I never try to make my kids eat a food. I have often told a child, "Oh, you don't like that now, but you will probably like it when you get older."

Then Quilt Artist spoke up: "When I was a kid, it wasn't about texture, it was about language."

We all stared at her, puzzled. Language?

"Yeah, I couldn't eat pizza for instance." She paused, completely serious. "I was just afraid of all those ZZs."

12 comments:

negativecapability said...

My mom raised us with exactly the same approach to food. The funny thing is that now I know she was right with all the "you'll probably like this when you're older" comments.

Ianqui said...

"I was just afraid of all those ZZs."

That. Is. Awesome.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

A friend of mine could only get his daughter to eat peas after he told her that they weren't peas, they were legumes. His daughter was totally aware that the food had not changed, and quite upfront in saying that what bothered her was the word "peas"

My eldest child gets really fussy over consistency. Food should not have chunks in it. Ideally, everything on earth would be pureed until it was perectly smooth.

RussianViolets said...

I'm still fussy about texture and consistency; mushrooms and cottage cheese give me the willies as a result.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I wouldn't eat cheese EXCEPT on pizza for the first 20 years of my life. It was the texture that grossed me out. And, come to think of it, the spelling.

I'm totally with you. Uh, except for the "not having unhealthy food in the house" part.

Bad Alice said...

I often feel like a terrible mom because my kids won't eat vegetables. Period. Well, the 5 year old will eat raw carrots. That's it, despite "presenting" veggies, despite the fact that we're pretty good about eating vegetables regularly. I can pretty much count the foods they'll eat on two hands, possibly one. The 3 year old was a preemie, intubated and tube fed for the first few weeks. Texture is a HUGE issue and gagging is still a possibility. I can count what she'll eat on one hand. Sigh. I just keep givin' 'em vitamins.

jo(e) said...

Bad Alice: When my daughter was little, she didn't eat vegetables. I'd heat frozen veggies up in the microwave and dump them on her high chair tray, and she would mainly just play with them. My theory is that I'd done my job as a parent by offering them to her. I figured that getting used to the smell of different vegetables was the main thing since taste is mainly about smell. I never tried any tactics to get her to eat them; I figured that she would eat them when she was ready. She's nineteen now -- and a vegetarian. She eats vegetables all the time. I don't remember when she actually started eating them -- I have too many kids to keep track of who eats what.

BrightStar said...

I've always been particularly fond of words with double letters.

Piece of Work said...

I love that: I was afraid of all those zzzs!
My kids get vegetables and fruit at every meal and my son usually eats them. My daughter, on the other hand, just throws them on the floor.

Julie said...

I wouldn't eat squash for the longest time because of the name.

I still do not eat food that resembles bodily wastes: raisins, apple juice, mustard (breastfed babies, anyhow).

Psycho Kitty said...

How wild. Does she, by chance, have synesthesia?

Terminaldegree said...

I had a college roommate who wouldn't eat anything that "crunched." She lived on canned lima beans with garlic salt; mac 'n' cheese; chocolate pudding (with grated American cheese in it); cupcakes (the microwavable kind); and tea.

The "crunch factor" extended to hygiene, too. She sucked on Altoids instead of brushing her teeth.