I’m sure there are some kids out there who take their first bite of solid food and decide they will eat anything and everything without complaint for the rest of their lives. I’ve just never met any of these mystical creatures or their pet unicorns.
Between power struggles, mood swings, and the ages of 2 to 5, any kid can pretty much be a nightmare come mealtime. Then there are the ones who are always picky about eating, whose lunch boxes are filled with only crackers and desperate hope, and who have at any given time no more than four food items they’re possibly willing to consume.
Parents of picky eaters: We understand you and can prove that we know what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes (as you trudge to the store to get that one brand of yogurt your kid will actually eat).
Here are 21 things any mom who has a picky eater knows for sure:
1. That “that tastes sour” can mean pretty much anything except something good.
2. The exact temperature any food should be served at to increase the odds your kid might eat it.
3. The location of that chain restaurant your picky kid will eat at, no matter where in the country you happen to be.
4. Food touching each other on the plate ruins everything.
5. If you offer a kid a chicken nugget then serve him a chicken tender you don’t know what love is, obviously.
6. Broken foods have a vastly different flavor than non-broken foods. Example: an intact tortilla chip tastes like corn baked by sunshine, tamped down by cuddly kitten paws, and seasoned with rainbows. A broken tortilla chip tastes like sadness and soundless screams.
7. The one acceptable brand of mac ‘n’ cheese.
8. The one acceptable noodle shape for that brand of mac ‘n’ cheese.
9. The one acceptable cheese color for that specifically-shaped option of that brand of mac ‘n’ cheese.
10. The look of disgusted disappointment in you that covered your child’s face when you served him pizza. Sure, normally he lives on the stuff — but that slice has a speck of green on it!!
11. The hatred of people who tell you to put down your foot and say, “What I serve or starve,” because clearly that will fix everything immediately and you’ve never thought of that before.
12. How to hide pureed vegetables in pretty much anything without it looking like swirls of baby vomit.
13. Which of your kid’s sure-bet-foods you can most easily pack up to bring with you to anywhere you might be at a mealtime.
14. That you have nicknames for most of the food your kid will eat so other people don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when you ask for “wiggly twigs and dressing” instead of spaghetti and meatballs at a restaurant.
15. What it’s like to hoard cookbooks with “Kid-Friendly Recipes!” somewhere on the cover.
16. Food tastes better on that one plate you can’t find a duplicate of.
17. French fries are delicious. Chips are wonderful. Mashed potatoes are a delight. Home fries are incredible. Tater tots are a godsend. Potatoes are awful and why would you ever serve your beloved children such a vile thing?
18. Every meat is “chicken” and shut up with your trying to say otherwise — the kid might hear you.
19. Just when you think your kid can’t get any more annoying at mealtime, she gets a loose tooth and you instantly hate life entirely.
20. Clementines are completely different than oranges. COMPLETELY. DIFFERENT.
21. The five-second rule means nothing to you.