I always say that I thought my daughter was a picky eater…until my son was born. I’m a picky eater of sorts too. I like the food I eat to be good and by good I mean good taste, good texture, and ideally good provenance because that’s where you get the good taste and texture. My kids eat some interesting foods and are not strictly the “chicken nugget” and “mac ‘n cheese” crowd, but they’re still picky.
So like every mother I have the constant dilemma of what to make for dinner or pack for lunch. That’s old news. The new dilemma is a bit more tricky. I have one child who eats live oysters, enjoys cow in the form of steak, loves any white fish, and even enjoyed the fact that she was eating tempura octopus legs today. Meanwhile, across the table, I have another child who truly, madly deeply loves animals and her prefers them to be alive and unharmed. He’s a sensitive little dude and he can’t watch anything even on t.v. that mentions hurting an animal (he makes an exception for Tom & Jerry). At lunch today he had a full blown meltdown and tried explaining how his head was hurting him and when I asked him if it was his forehead/head or his thinking head, he was able to say it was his thinking. Just the idea that there was octopus leg being eaten hurt him to his core. Not to mention that the night before (Friday, Movie Night) we had Charlotte’s Web on and he started to get upset, turned the t.v. off and left the room. Luckily we had his movie choice, Charlie Brown, as back up.
This idea isn’t foreign to me. I have a cousin who became vegetarian at 4 years old when he realised that some food are animals. I’m just trying to figure it all out now as a parent. Do I stop feeding my already extremely picky eater chicken nuggets because he wouldn’t want to eat chicken (although he hasn’t expressed that yet.). I’m okay with having a vegetarian child, I’m even okay feeding my family a mostly vegetarian diet (I won’t give up fish).
I think all I can do right now is wait, listen, and ask for an occasional clarification. The bigger problem is figuring out how to juggle these two really different perspectives on food. I love that my daughter knows that what she is eating was once alive and is now dinner and that she’s totally okay with that (although she’s not sure about rabbit yet.) I love that my son has such a respect and love for living things that he can’t even tolerate mention of death in any context. Where we go from here is a mystery to me, but as with anything in parenting. I’ll take it one step at a time and hope I don’t screw my kids up too much along the way.