Kaia, since last month, has started exhibiting typical toddler behavior. Sooner than I had hoped, she has already started developing preferences for food, primarily carbs, carbs, more carbs, meat, and fruit. My sweet baby, from age 6 to 11.5 months, loved her greens and always enjoyed teething on the long, thick stalks of yu choy and gai lan Asian greens. Now, she will eat a few bites of them at most and then “sweep” them aside. Each day is a little different though: some days, she eats all her tiny spinach piles and will eat more that is offered. Other days, she will take half a bite and then want nothing more to do with any vegetable. No one in their right mind could possibly tell me that this sudden preference is due to a lack of exposure before this: I was super intentional about always making sure she had at least one green, plus another vegetable, at every single meal, even at breakfast. So now, this new struggle we are encountering is really unnerving me. She will make it seem like she is teething or just overly tired, yet magically, once a noodle or clump of rice is seen, she will be fully consumed by it and eat endless amounts of whatever that carb is once it’s presented.
I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a single meal and not a single day that defines how “well rounded” her eating is; it’s a week, a month, a quarter. Our nanny has obviously noticed these preferences since we’ve come back from Australia, and she told me that it was inevitable; she was just hoping it would have been later than now for Kaia specifically since she’s been exposed to such a large variety of foods.
“It’s okay, Yvonne,” the nanny said to me yesterday. “Even though you may think Kaia isn’t eating much or enough variety, she’s still eating more and eating more variety than 99 percent of all other kids out there. She really is. I’m not just saying it.”
What she is saying may be true. But I still want the best for Pookster, and rejecting veggies is not what I want for her. I can’t help but want to combat the preferences and keep pushing her vegetable and non-carb exposure as much as possible. I refuse to just serve her beige foods. I will NOT become THAT mom. I will keep pushing with the greens and at least having her see them on her plate or tray.