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Chopstick Skills

May 13, 2010

I was super thin when I was a kid.  And I mean super thin.  On a good day I was about 110 pounds which, at nearly 5’8″ is a rather scary number, and I swear that my crazy hair accounted for at least 20% of my weight!  But my low weight wasn’t intentional.  Back then I had no idea what a calorie was, nor did I care – I simply had no appetite and no interest in food. 

As you can imagine, my parents were at their wit’s end with my eating habits (or lack thereof).  They tried everything to get me to eat – threats, promises, and even bribes – but how do you make a child eat when they don’t want to?  Actually, how can you get a child to do anything they don’t want to do?  Well, as I am slowly finding out, you often can’t.

I used to foil my parent’s attempts to get me to take a bite, at every turn:

  1. At breakfast I’d pour myself a bowl of Raisin Bran under my mother’s watchful eye.  But when she was preoccupied with yelling at my brother because he got suspended again, or my sister because she used her “emergency” credit card to buy shoes, I’d hightail it to the bathroom to pour the cereal down the sink. 
  2. I’d make and take a tomato sandwich to school every day for lunch, just so my mom would think I was eating lunch.  But it usually ended up uneaten and in the trash.  Instead I’d buy a King Sized Snickers and a Dr. Pepper and chow down, because even I knew that it was time to eat something when I started feeling dizzy.
  3. Dinner was a bit trickier because my parents liked us all to sit down at the table together.  Sometimes I’d force down a few spoonfuls of rice but other times the evening would end in a crying session (me) and a yelling session (my dad).  Oh the memories.

Considering my rather bizarre, picky ways as a child, you’d think I’d have a lot more patience with Maya’s likes and dislikes, right?  Well I don’t.  Things have come to a head lately because I have only been cooking one dinner for the three of us, as opposed to the 3 different ones I’ve been cooking for years.  This has been met with quite a bit of resistance and last night Maya and I exchanged several angry words about the quinoa I’d made and how she had no plans to eat it.  Here is a synopsis of our conversation, minus some of the “angrier” words that escaped my lips when I wasn’t looking.  And for those of you who are wondering I have no plans to implement a “swear jar” anytime soon.

Maya: I don’t want that.

Me: That’s okay.  I guess you just aren’t hungry enough.

Maya: But I am hungry!  (In a defeated tone) Okay, I guess I’ll have it.

Me: (In a triumphant tone) I guess you will.

Guess who loved the quinoa?  I know I shouldn’t be too hard on Maya and I am trying to respect her likes and dislikes, because even though she is only 5 doesn’t mean she doesn’t have taste buds.  But I want her to at least try things once, so that she doesn’t regret going through 30 years of her life not eating certain things for absolutely no reason.  Kind of like her mother does. 

I must give credit where credit is due, however, because unlike Maya I refused to try my first piece of sushi until I was well into my 20’s.

And my chopstick skills?  Well they are still nowhere near Maya’s.

Sometimes I’m glad the apple does fall far from the tree.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. lowandbhold permalink
    May 13, 2010 5:44 am

    She likes sushi and quinoa?! That’s seriously impressive.

  2. May 13, 2010 5:52 am

    Wow Lady you are TALL. I will have to really look up to you when and if we ever meet. I am only 5’2″.

  3. May 13, 2010 6:11 am

    Lol…I can only imagine how frustrating your parents must have found your eating habits (or non-eating habits) to be!

    Maya looks like a pro with those chopsticks!

  4. May 13, 2010 6:18 am

    I think it’s really important that you show Maya how to eat right, now! Honestly as a child my mom worked full time and was never home and I learned how to subsist on snacks only, which worked out until I went to college and my body started changing. I had to teach myself how to eat like a normal person and while I don’t resent my mother for it, I know that had she been around more she could have been the one to show me how to do it right (or not, actually, since I’m the one teaching her these days).

  5. May 13, 2010 6:20 am

    I’m a picky eater, too, so I have sympathy. I never tried anything as a kid and it was only when I got older that my parents resorted to bribery. I remember getting $20 to try calamari. And I like it now. Go figure.

  6. May 13, 2010 6:29 am

    I don’t think I tried sushi until about five years ago… and that’s just because my boyfriend at the time made me! (funny, right?)

    I remember the fights at the table when I was little, too. It often ended with me taking the smallest bites ever of cold food about 15 minutes after everyone else left the table. Ugh…

  7. May 13, 2010 6:39 am

    you are 5’8″

    oh my gosh! I wish I was a tad taller!

    as for kidlets and eating…mine have gone from AMAZING to picky…it just depends on the wind. but I have stopped being a short order cook. I cook.. you eat. I actually have a you have to just taste it rule.

    it worked for my older son. JJ….we’re working on it! he gets funny if it’s too HOT..meaning air temp!

    great job Mama!

    i wish I liked food a little LESS!


  8. traynharder23 permalink
    May 13, 2010 6:45 am

    hahaha i’ll help you with the chopstick skillz!!! =D

    i was a skinny kid too. now look at me. lol. a little buffer.

  9. May 13, 2010 7:46 am

    It definitely is frustrating getting kids to eat. How cool she will eat sushi though. I wonder if Makenzie will be that adventurous when she is older. Probably not. She is starting to get pickier and pickier. Grrrrr.

  10. May 13, 2010 7:47 am

    I was not a picky eater as a kid…lucky for my parents, huh?? I would basically eat anything put in front of me. Now here’s hoping that if I have kids one day that favor will be repaid! haha! 🙂

  11. whydeprive permalink
    May 13, 2010 8:09 am

    My mom refused to cook more than one meal. Or so she would say.
    My brother wouldnt eat ANYTHING. He’s still a child that way. Anyhow, she would say if you dont want it you dont get dinner. But then at 8:00 when he was sitting with a box of crackers and calling it dinner, she’d cook him something.
    Stick to your guns! Make Maya try things, she’ll love you for it later.

  12. May 13, 2010 8:21 am

    Ha, I didn’t try sushi until my 20’s either. She seems like a pretty adventurous eater compared to many kids. Or maybe I’m just thinking of my sister and me. We were terrible. My sister is still terrible. She has the taste buds of a toddler. If it’s not fried, she scrunches her nose. I feel bad for my mom, in retrospect. She used to use tricks, like sneaking tofu into mac and cheese and not telling us. We were super skinny kids too. We ate more than enough as kids, but we were just genetically really thin. I’m sure people thought my mom was starving us though. Ha. I always liked to eat, but I was very particular. I’m still particular, but not so fussy. I can only imagine how it is to have to feed a child! I thank my husband every day for eating whatever I make.

  13. May 13, 2010 8:32 am

    I was exactly the same way as a child. I was super picky and I never wanted to eat anything my mom made… or anything at all for that matter. My mom took some drastic measures, including not letting me get up from the table until I finished a meal. I remember this one time, I sat at the table for probably close to two hours staring at a sandwich I didn’t want to eat, and I got so bored that I eventually called 911 just because I was curious of what all the fuss was about. I must have been around 5 at the time, and I hung up as soon as they answered, which made them call back seconds later. Needless to say, mom wasn’t too impressed, but I’d like to think I got my point across…

  14. highonhealthy permalink
    May 13, 2010 8:38 am

    I love those chopsticks and although they’re probably just made for kids, I would definitely put them to use.

    Maya may not like having to have a dinner she doesn’t want but I think it’s a good thing that you’re only making one dinner that everyone is required to it. Even if she doesn’t like something at first, she’ll probably grow to like it in the end. There were so many things that my parent’s put on my plate that I believed I would “never” like.. except that I love them now.

  15. May 13, 2010 8:45 am

    Now that I’m in my 20s, I am really glad that my mom forced us to try things! When I was living at home I hated all the “creative” meals she would whip up, now I find myself wishing I could eat her cooking. I can’t believe Maya eats sushi! That was one thing I refused to try until a few years ago!

    I don’t know if you remember, but I mentioned wanting to take my mom for tea on Mother’s day – we didn’t get the chance, but we are going when we are in Halifax next month! I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes 🙂

  16. May 13, 2010 9:33 am

    Sushi and quinoa! Wow! I know adults that think I’m crazy for eating that stuff! 🙂

  17. actorsdiet permalink
    May 13, 2010 10:29 am

    that’s so interesting! i was not a picky eater – in fact i ate everything and i was also a super skinny kid. the problem was more my mom complaining that she was fat and couldn’t eat anything she wanted and i could. yup, that’s where those years of bingeing came from!!!!

  18. May 13, 2010 10:42 am

    I’m impressed that she tried sushi! I still haven’t gotten brave enough to try the raw fish kind!

  19. May 13, 2010 10:47 am

    Some of my cousins are picky eaters (or were when they were kids). I’m not sure if I was picky or not. I know there was grumblings over some meals…but as soon as we started eating I’d forget that.
    Not like you though…never threw away stuff, or only ate a bit….you must have drove your folks mad 🙂

  20. May 13, 2010 11:13 am

    I think you’ve done something right when a child her age like quinoa and sushi. I have a few friends and relative who a serious picky eaters. One like anything meat and fried, another won’t touch anything fish aside from a can of tuna. It’s a constant battle just to try and find a place to eat with them. hahaha…

  21. May 13, 2010 12:10 pm

    Hey! Great to read your blog as well. I have seven kids and some are picky and some are not. My five year old definitely wins the prize right now! I don’t ever force him to eat, but he can’t have seconds of what he really wants, or any dessert unless he at least tries the new food. And tries it without making a horrible face!! 🙂

    I am impressed that your daughter will eat quiona and sushi – good job mom!!

  22. May 13, 2010 12:39 pm

    I think it’s good that you’re not giving into Maya and making her a separate meal. My mom gave in to me and I was such a picky kid who never ate my veggies. You’re doing the right thing and she will thank you one day!! 🙂

  23. oc2seattle permalink
    May 13, 2010 12:54 pm

    Good for you for making Maya try new things! My husband’s parents totally indulged his pickiness and he is still a picky disaster today, i.e. no sushi, no peas, no mushrooms, rejects most kinds of fish, no mussels, no oysters, no lobster, no clams . . . the list goes on and on.

  24. May 13, 2010 1:09 pm

    Sounds like Maya has a very grown-up palate, I can’t believe she likes sushi! I wish she could teach me how to use chopsticks. 😉

  25. May 13, 2010 1:10 pm

    oh i so know where you’re coming from. sometimes i feel i have to cook different dinners just so my kiddies will eat it too. does Maya eat the actual raw fish or does she just eat the sushi without the raw fish in it? the reason i ask is cause i’d like to start Kayla (Lex is still quite young) on sushi too but i’m not sure what age is ok for them to start eating raw stuff. Gary and i love Japanese food and everytime we eat the salmon Kayla will ask for some and i feel so bad when i have to say no to her.

    teeheehee. i love that expression on Maya’s face. like she’s processing whether she likes the sushi or not – priceless! Kudos to Maya for trying new things and to you for putting your foot down.

    • May 13, 2010 6:31 pm

      Hi there! – Yes Maya eats the raw fish too. Honestly, I never thought about the fact that she may be too young for it. Good point! I may need to rethink that or at least check with the doctor.

  26. May 13, 2010 3:20 pm

    Ha, I was the kid who ate anything and everything. Hence the 5’5″ 186 pounder I was before my freshman year of college.

    But I really wish my parents had been more into nutrition and encouraged me to eat better. Yeah, as an older kid you have to make your own choices, but you need a foundation to even know what choices are out there.

    Haha, my kids will grow up on kale, quinoa, and Greek yogurt. But I won’t forbid sweets and treats either, because I know otherwise they’d be consumed en masse at their friends’ houses. But I want to be sure they know just how good a roasted sweet potato is.

  27. May 13, 2010 3:56 pm

    Wow – shocked she likes sushi!! I admit – I am still petrified of it. At least I’m exploratory with other foods??
    I will say, however, that I’m glad my mom forced me to eat my veggies and didn’t cook something else “just because I didn’t like it.” So don’t feel too bad 😉

  28. May 13, 2010 4:44 pm

    Sushi and quinoa? Wow, Maya certainly does have a refined palate. I just tried sushi for the first time a few months ago and now I love it (i was reluctant to before because the thought of eating raw fish/seaweed was absolutely repulsive to me.)
    Growing up I was a rather picky eater, but my parents would always have me try something and if I didn’t like it then I wouldn’t have to eat it.

  29. May 13, 2010 5:13 pm

    My boyfriends nephew was horrified when he saw us eating sushi. He didnt know fish were something you could eat (even though he goes fishing…) He wouldnt try it

  30. May 13, 2010 5:22 pm

    Your child has SERIOUSLY advanced taste buds! Go you!

  31. May 13, 2010 6:37 pm

    i remember i was so afraid to try sushi.. i think cuz i didnt like the fishy taste i thought it would be like. but when i did try it i loved it right away. SUSHI IS LOVE! simple.

  32. May 13, 2010 7:41 pm

    Its really impressive that Maya eats quinoa and sushi…I was such a picky eater as a child. I had to eat the same thing every day in the exact same way, or else I wouldn’t eat anything at all. I know there has to be a way to raise a child with healthy habits without giving them a disordered complex. You seem to be doing great with Maya. The fact that she will even touch quinoa is impressive…i didn’t know what quinoa was until I was 17 and even then I was afraid of it.
    I am not a mother (yet?) but I have a feeling that if you role model healthy habits and offer guidance, but allow kids to make their own choices (or at least some of their own choices) then you can find a healthy balance. I think you are a model mom though- whatever you are doing certainly seems to be working. Maybe you could write a manual for the rest of us?

    • May 14, 2010 12:55 pm

      I am probably the least qualified person to write a manual on how to raise a child. But the fact that you think I could? You have no idea how much that means to me! So thank you for that!

  33. May 13, 2010 8:32 pm

    Wow. Can’t believe you detested eating to that extent. I LOVED food as a kid. LOL 😉

    I think it’s awesome that you’re urging Maya to try a lot of different things. And quinoa? That’s one of my favorite things now, but as a kid I’m not sure I would have eaten it. Although I did love food as a kid, and I did eat a variety of veggies (not all, but more than most), I also sometimes refused to eat some of the “weirder” foods.

    Kudos to Maya!

    Oh, and chopsticks? I’d starve to death – and die – if I had to eat with those things!!!! 🙂

    Healthy hugs,

  34. May 14, 2010 7:05 am

    I’ve always loved food, but these days its a total obsession. I wish i had other interests, but food has taken over LOL.
    Have a wonderful weekend daaaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  35. Michelle permalink
    May 14, 2010 9:26 pm

    Your daughter is so beautiful! My best friend growing up was a super picky eater and didn’t eat that much. She was VERY skinny, but when she did eat it was just junk food. I found it very similar to your story. Thank you for sharing it!

  36. May 17, 2010 3:48 pm

    Sigh! I remember those days! Not caring about food! The good ol’ days, huh?

    How funny is it that those of us who used to have food issues, now have tummy probs?

    There’s definitely a connection I think!

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