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I'm not sure what happened to my middle child, who is now 9 years old. Sometime between the ages of two and three, he dramatically changed his eating habits. Alex went from being the "Baby Who Ate Broccoli" to "Mr. Picky Eater".

As a toddler, Alex had a pretty diverse pallet. He ate steak, broccoli, mashed
potatoes, chicken, hot dogs, apples, oranges, grapes, ... the list goes on. One by one he developed food phobias and dropped to only a handful of items he would eat.
The current food list:

Breakfast: Poptarts, Eggo Waffles, Chocolate Chip Pancakes with chocolate syrup and Fruit Loops (dry, no milk).
Beverages: Milk, Pop, Orange Juice, Chocolate Milk & Lemonade
Lunch: Orange Creamsickle flavored Yoplait Yogurt or Cheez-its with Peanut Butter
Dinner: Pizza, Pasta with olive oil or Wendy's Chicken Nuggets ( no substitutes ).
What the Doctor Says:

Two years ago, we expressed our concern to our pediatrician. He told us not to worry, that our son was growing and was fine. Our doctor went on to tell us that he was also a picky eater as a child and eventually outgrew his food issues. He would inspire more of our confidence if our doctor was taller than 5'6" and had a healthier pallor. Of course our son was in the room and loves to quote the good doctor.

The Final Straw

This past weekend we spent the day at a family function. We were surrounded by good food. At a lunch buffet, all our problem child ate was a peanut butter cookie and for dinner - several glasses of lemonade. He did not touch his plate of made to order pasta.

Alex was already famous with my family for his plate of pretzels meal at Thanksgiving dinner, refusing to partake in any of the bountiful feast. I was angry that not only were special accommodations made for this past Saturday night's dinner, he did not take one bite. Lack of appetite was the excuse.

Food Fear Factor
As a last ditch effort before enlisting the help of a therapist, I decided to make eating a sport at our house.
Last night I sat down with the boys and had them help me design an eating game. We voted on a food list by food group. Two out of three boys were needed to approve each item on the list. We devised a point system with weekly prizes for meeting goals.

Today was the first day. I started out with easy foods and had some success. Breakfast was half a bagel with either butter or cream cheese. Dinner was Macaroni and Cheese. I also had applesauce and Bratwurst as additional options. Dessert was apple slices with caramel sauce.

While my other two boys are ahead in points as they are better eaters, I was able to get my finicky boy to try everything without a big fight. I am optimistic we can make some progress and perhaps come up with some techniques that work. I've tried the "Sneaky Chef" method of altering foods. This type of deception does not work well for us. I prefer taking the more straight forward approach and having my boys be part of the process.

If we succeed, perhaps we'll write a book!

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Comment by Liz on February 18, 2008 at 9:38am
Wow, good idea. Let us know how it works!

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