My son is an extremely picky eater. He’s not Paleo, but he does eat mostly what we eat for breakfast and dinner. The big exception is lunch at school where he usually eats a sandwich and stuff we pack. I also let him eat cereal sometimes on the weekends. I know, the Paleo gurus would have me thrown in cave-prison or something, but they don’t live here, so they don’t know!
My son had HORRIBLE, and I do mean HORRIBLE allergies and asthma when he was younger, and he wouldn’t eat hardly anything (weight was under the first percentile). He would often vomit up his food, particularly if it had any kind of texture to it (protein and veggies were nearly impossible). He eats better now for sure, but he goes in spurts where he complains beyond rhyme or reason about any little thing he “has to eat.” Yes, I am the mom that MAKES him eat. You can argue the poor logic on that with me until you’re taking a leave of absence from work because your child has chronic pneumonia from vomiting and aspirating vomit from choking on any food with a texture. Yeah, it was that bad.
This morning was one of those mornings with a zillion complaints. He wanted cereal (which he does have occasionally on weekends, but not on a school morning because he gets hungry again in an hour when he eats cereal). I “made him eat” eggs and bacon as well as strawberries, cherries, and banana with coconut milk on them. Such a cruel mom, huh? Well, he thought so this morning. He told me how he was having a bad day already because I made him eat eggs (which he used to like) and cherries, and he had gotten a time-out for whining and yelling. On and on about the “bad day” he complained. On the way to the bus stop, we had a conversation about how his bad day was my good day. His 8 year old self was actually intrigued by this. I reminded him about how sick he used to get, reminded him of all of the medicines (2 forms of nebulizers, allergy medicine, steroids, antibiotics, etc…) he used to have to take all the time, how miserable he felt all the time, how he used to get in trouble in preschool during allergy season because the allergy medicine made him so irritable. I told him that even though he was “having a bad day” because of having to eat these things, I thought it was a good day because he did indeed eat them and his body now has some nutrients it needs. We talked about how his body needed these things to pay attention in class, to learn, to grow, not get sick, etc… He didn’t believe me about that paying attention and learning parts, so we had a deeper conversation about that and attention problems, and he actually started talking about kids in his class who have those troubles and can’t pay attention. I reminded him of what happens when he has cereal. We experimented with that last summer, and he clearly was able to see and understand that he gets hungry and cranky about an hour after eating cereal, while he can easily go to lunch time without issue when he eats a good whack of protein instead. I also reminded him how right now (March-May) is the worst part of allergy season for him…. tree pollen season. He has had no medications, no sniffles. All is well <knock on wood>.
His uncle is coming to visit tonight. I asked my son what Paleo dinner we should make. He didn’t have any good ideas, as he still doesn’t like protein. I asked him what Paleo dinner he “tolerates” the best, and he said “fish, the pink salmon kind.” Progress, one step at a time. My kid tolerates fish. That’s a celebration.
He hopped onto the school bus still pondering all of this, singing “Let It Grow” from The Lorax. He seemed to be in a better mood. I wonder if he’ll talk about it when he gets home today.