Thursday, April 08, 2010

Food and Life, Life and Food

Kieran ate two bites of strawberries last night. Completely his own idea. I know this might sound rather paltry and somewhat sad to some folks, but it's downright shocking to me. I'm still kind of processing it.

You have to understand, my son doesn't eat a variety of things. In fact, most of his diet is beige in color: pasta, bananas, white rice, chicken nuggets, cheerios, etc. There are no bright colors in his diet, with the exception of things with red or blue 40 artificial food coloring (Icees are included in this group, along with candy and potato chips). He just won't eat. Anything. Else.

And when I've had this conversation with health minded folks, I see them look at me with a sort of condescending gaze, "Well, you just shouldn't give him a choice," they'll say. As if it's really possible to force a child to eat something they don't want to eat.

Well, about a month ago, with the support of my Behavior Specialist, I went ahead and did just that. It wasn't pretty and in a lot of ways in felt wrong. I didn't force the small, dice-sized square of pizza in his mouth, but I made it clear he wasn't going anywhere until he chewed it and swallowed it. I think it took 45 minutes from when we started to when we finished, and he threw up five times before he managed to keep it down. Bare in mind this is only pizza I'm talking about: not liver, not arsenic, not anything even particularly nasty.

But it worked, and since then we've kept at it, adding new foods every week or so. Strawberries are the newest and because they are a natural food source, rich in antioxidents and flavor, I have embraced them. Okay, so until the fresh ones from the farm down the street come ripe, I do add a teaspoon of sugar to make them a little less sharp-tasting. But believe me, it's so much better than some of the other things he prefers to consume.

Today it's strawberries. This summer it will hopefully be cherries and peaches. And who knows, maybe by winter I'll get him to eat a real live vegetable--wouldn't that be something?!?

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