• Candy Apple

    My mom got my daughter to eat chicken nuggets by calling them “chicken cookies.” It worked. I’m not sure why. They are soo NOT cookies, but we still call them that. She loves her some chicken cookies. Why we wanted her to eat them in the first place escapes me. I think they might have been her first “meat.”

  • Andrea

    Sometimes, Leta and the Armstrongs remind me of Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) and his parents.

    This is one such time.

    Viva pancakes! Viva Leta!!

  • http://pocketsofhappiness.blogspot.com/ Shellie

    My favorite food is yellow summer squash. I refused to eat tham as a child. Then, my grandmother started to make “squash fritters,” which she simply called “pancakes.” Obviously, I didn’t have the same aversion to pancakes because I ate squash in that deceptively familiar form and grew to love them. Oh, how we deceive children in the name of nutrition… (Isn’t Jerry Seinfeld’s wife making a mint on that?)

  • http://notinsaneperse.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    The husband and I have had those exact moments. The moments where my head exploded because our oldest wouldn’t try, oh, I don’t know, a different kind of chocolate. Moments where we literally held our breath while he tasted something new.

    Kids are a blast, aren’t they?

  • http://dailydrip.net Daily Drip

    Did you tell her about the power of bacon dipped in maple syrup… ahhh… I think I need to have breakfast for dinner.

  • Katie

    I recently tried to give my son waffle sticks with syrup to dip them in. Also on his plate was green beans. He likes green beans. He claims he does not like waffles. He did, however, figure out to dip the green beans in the syrup and lick it off.


  • Kristen from Ma

    mmmm, pancakes. otherwise known as syrup delivery devices :)

  • http://www.survivethemayhem.com SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem

    So…what you’re saying is Leta is picky? ;-) Yeah, our little guy (nearly two) has quite the limited menu as well and no, he won’t eat a PB&J either. *sigh*

  • http://www.thebutterflymind.com Tammy

    I grew up on catsup toast (toast dipped in catsup). It was what I ate when I didn’t like whatever was “on the menu” for dinner, which was pretty often. My parents gave up trying to force me to eat what the rest of the family was eating. Somehow I survived and eat real food now. LOL.

  • Anonymous

    the mini pancakes they sell in the frozen section of the supermarket go over well in our household. Our 4 year old typically eats 8, and our 1 year old LOVES the smallness and can put down about 2. Just thought I’d throw that out there, for the mornings Jon isn’t free to make them homemade.

  • Beth

    Well thanks, everyone, for the tips — seriously. My daughter’s heading down that slippery slope and I have NO patience for it as I grew up so hungry I snuck dog bones between meals. So when I see her turn up her nose at egg salad (she likes eggs, she likes mayo, go figure), it’s all I can do not to rip the plate away and refuse to feed her for a week.

  • jess

    I might have to try this whole kid thing… :-)

  • Britty

    Cracks me up….how rediculous we parents act sometimes, just to get our kids to cooperate. Then they throw it back when we least expect it…my son reminded me the other day that “not everything is a competition” and to not forget to “use my manners”. Lovely.

  • Erica


    And your next post will be a collection of all the comments and e’mails from people telling you not to beat your child with wooden instruments, what are you, you child abusing monster person … right? Because when I read that line my first thought was, “Dang! That’s going to generate some serious e’mail from people who are STILL working on their senses of humor.”

    tee hee!

    I wish Jon continued great success on the food introduction front.

  • http://mlbornstein.blogspot.com Meredith

    For a while I had to tell my three-year-old that everything was pie. Even if it was made out of veggies and chicken. If I could convince her it was pie, she’d eat it. Whatever works!

  • SueR

    Love the story! I have a niece who insists on being a vegetarian (she’s 16) but since she doesn’t like vegetables, her diet pretty much consists of grilled cheese. And candy.

    Furminator–I have one for the dogs and one for the cats. Does great things on matted cats. I have turned more people on to the furminator than I can count!

  • http://www.thebetsy.com Betsy Barron

    You ROCK Team Blurbodoocery! Score one for the parents of the fussy eaters!!

  • Rachael

    I love reading about Leta’s eating habits; they remind me of my own as a kid as well as a child I have been babysitting since 2003, when she was 4 going on 5. Her diet then consisted of BUTTER. BACON. CHEESE. She even once told me, on one of those lazy dog days of August right before school started, “When I’m at school…I think about bacon.”
    She said this with a sigh, as if she were talking about her dreams and aspirations to become a world dictator.
    As a child I was put off by anything that was made with care and order. I dissected sandwiches, picked at every salad and snubbed almost every piece of meat. I was the kid with the Weirdest. Lunches. Ever.

  • Colleen

    My older brother lived on PB&J. Our pediatrician told my mom to go with it – he’d eat when he was hungry.

    He didn’t expand his menu of acceptable foods until he dated a foodie in college.

    Leta’s not doing so bad.

  • http://noodlejunction.wordpress.com Mr. Noodle

    I know that greasy spoon! Well, maybe not that one but ones just like it. Let me see… the cook has on all white with one of those paper hats. He’s kinda stooped over and looks like he has been at that grill since 1953. But he can make eating two over easy with bacon an almost sexual experience. Yeah… I know that greasy spoon…

    Mr. Noodle

  • http://www.myfunnyfunnyfamily.com Carrie

    This kid is a genius. The rest of us are out there telling our kids, “Not so much syrup! Here, you can only have this shotglass full!” And meanwhile Leta is all, I SUPPOSE I could eat a teensy bit more sugar-covered bread.

    And believe me, if my kids ate like Leta, I’m sure I would be proselytizing the candilike nature of syrup too.

    Oh, and I agree with Leta on one thing: Cake IS kind of yucky.

  • lori

    my kids liked mickey mouse pancakes. there’s gotta be a princess pancake template.

  • http://minxlj.tumblr.com minxlj

    Pancakes are truly awesome. I need to go and make some NOW

  • laura

    My daughter just turned 7 and still won’t try any new foods. My husband and I are at our wits’ end. Chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken, chicken strips (basically anything breaded, from Tyson, no other brands), Easy Mac, Cheese Puffs, yogurt. We’ve stopped buying the chicken in hopes that she will be forced to try new things. She has, not instead of chicken it’s deli ham (thinly sliced, not prepackaged). People have told me that clearly my child is in control of us and not the other way around. But after reading these comments I am overjoyed to see that we aren’t suffering alone. And the next time someone tells me to “cut the food into fun shapes” I’m going to scream. Don’t they think we’ve tried that already? She’s SEVEN!! Sigh. Thank you for the book suggestions, they are in my amazon checkout cart right now.

  • http://www.shelikespurple.com She Likes Purple

    I was going to say the same thing as someone else, try adding chocolate chips! That’ll be like Christmas! (Or maybe it’s only like Christmas for me.)

  • Beth

    My younger daughter (now 13) loves ethnic foods, salmon fillet, steamed broccoli, raw carrots, and brie, but won’t touch jelly, mayonnaise, tomatoes, or raw fruit other than apples. She has definitely broadened her food horizons over the last few years, though. My 16-year-old daughter (who now loves sushi) was a bit picky when she was Leta’s age. Don’t give up hope!

  • Rick S.

    Laughing so hard! Our 6-yr-old, Declan, still won’t eat anything of substance but cheese pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches. You’d think constipation would begin to turn a young mind toward new possibilities, but…

    This story made me want to dash home and find the maple syrup and beg my wife to teach me to make pancakes. I am definitely going to try this tactic the next time we have breakfast out!

  • Elizabeth

    Boy #1 — munster cheese, toast (only the inside), fresh bread from the store (only the outside), grape juice (the only fruit), fizzy water, frappes (only vanilla and preferably all the time with every meal, rather than our maximum of one every other day), bunny pasta (without the cheese sauce), mac-n-cheese FROM BURGER KING (but not when I buy Kraft Mac-N-Cheese (which is what BK uses!) and make it at home), a few bites of pancake (if drenched adequately in syrup), popsicles (if just the right color and shape), vanilla ice cream (without sprinkles and only in lieu of frappe), goldfish (rainbow colored or whole grain), chocolate (dark, with nothing in it), peas (swallowed whole such that we see them again), corn kernels (see peas), pizza and spaghetti (as long as *I* don’t make it), bacon, pretzels, the crackers from cheese-n-cracker snack packs (but NOT the cheese), french fries with ketchup (*I* don’t like ketchup), waffles (a new thing – afraid it might just be the make-your-own at the hotel in North Conway), Sun Chips, potato chips (preferably with ridges), shredded cheese (by itself in a bowl), coffee nips… I think that’s all of it — we struggle with food CONSTANTLY. Dad offers new food ALL THE TIME. I roll my eyes every time (in my head, invisibly) — it’s always a waste of breath. At OT, it’s taken a year to get him to SWALLOW four tiny bites of apple. We did food therapy for nearly a year. One day, the therapist touched his cheek while he LOOKED AT applesauce. He vomited all over her office. She said, “NOW I see why you’re here!” And shortly thereafter she gave up.

    For the last few months, we have been seeing basically a toilet training coach at Children’s Hospital. With enough Ex-Lax and Miralax EVERYDAY, we have actually made some progress. We hope that the better food processing has increased appetite. These days, eating toast is often not JUST four bites (one out of each section), but sometimes more. The mac-n-cheese from Burger King is new (all his idea, I was SURE it wouldn’t fly) and he actually FINISHES a serving and moves on to a second one, PLUS french fries AND a frappe. ALL junk, but it’s the VOLUME of food that’s astounding. We SO know that hold-your-breath feeling, when he said he’d like a second waffle at the hotel that weekend, and then ate so much of it.

    After listing ALL of the above foods, none of which you can ever just offer and expect him to eat — definitely the moon and venus have to be in the right alignment — I begin to feel a bit better… A LOT more than 5!!

  • Carley

    Very cute! I’m glad she eats five different things now!

  • Carrie Johnston

    What I miss most about the South: WAFFLE HOUSE! It’ll be the first place I eat when I go home to Louisiana at Christmas. I need their waffles NOW!

  • http://almostlucid.com Brad

    Awwww. Nice work, you two!

    We’ve totally done this too… played the “just one bite, and you’ll fall in love” card, and it does work. Sometimes. And sometimes they are just little devils for sport.

  • Miz Blo

    *call me when she’s managed to lodge a quarter in her nostril.*

    You made me laugh so hard that I almost spit out my dinner! Whoo she ate it. Good luck with other the foods.

  • http://www.elegantlyrandom.typepad.com Sarie

    Today’s was exactly the kind of post that got me reading your site in the first place.

  • http://www.kariapted.com Kari

    Too funny!

    Reminds me of the time we had friends staying with us and they cooked dinner one night: curried chicken over rice and steamed veggies on the side. My then 5 y.o. loved chicken, but turned his nose up because the sauce looked unfamiliar.

    These friends’ kids were older than mine, so they were experts at this stuff. So when Z demanded to know what kind of sauce it was, the dad replied with a question of his own…

    “What is your favorite kind of sauce, Z?”
    “Honey mustard.”
    “Well, that’s what it is.”

    Z ate every bite and asked for seconds. HA!

  • http://thedalaimama.net dawn

    Ah the diet of toddlers and pre-schoolers. I love the whole “syrup tastes like candy thing.” If only my kid liked candy–I know a 2 1/2 year old who doesn’t like candy so much. Fruit snacks–no thank you. Sometimes he will only eat chips for breakfast.

    It certainly makes for easy clean up.

  • http://www.missivesfromsuburbia.blogspot.com Missives From Suburbia

    Oh, my God. We don’t even use our son’s NAME at the table when we think he’s considering trying something new or actually touching a foreign food. We say things like, “IT is picking up the macaroni” and “Did I just see IT touch a bean?” Dehumanizing? Sure, but my husband and I both know that the moment the child senses any amount of pleasure emanating from our beings, he will drop everything and revert to eating string cheese for a week.

    I think the most irksome thing about eating in a restaurant is when our kid DOES try something new and loves it, then asks for more and the server takes an HOUR to bring another serving. Momentum is key. I don’t need the raspberries to arrive in a martini glass with mint and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I need them to arrive NOW.

    I’ll stop now. I could write paragraphs on this topic. I probably should have done that on my own blog by now, eh?

  • http://www.kirida.com kirida

    this gives me hope that my kid will eat something more substantial than croutons.

  • http://rachieann.com Rachie

    my favorite part of the day is coming here and reading posts like this one. a little slice of your world, and i love it!

  • Mackenzie

    We may be from the same gene pool — I love greasy spoon diners, and indeed, the dirtier the better. If you’re ever out in Virginia I’ve got a couple of fantastic recommendations. And because it’s Virginia smoking is still allowed; there’s something strangely intoxicating about the smell of old grease and stale cigarette smoke.

  • http://messyperfection.blogspot.com amanda

    OMG! And I thought just my kids were picky eaters! I just stumbled across your blog and love it! I have a friend who has given up trying to experiment with her kids eating habits and will only feed them tequitos and chicken nuggets. I haven’t given in yet… but I am learning how to feed my children… I bought the puree everything and mix it into your food book… but I’ve only had the energy to do that a few times! It’s a lot of work… and do I really care that much? Not right now! I’m tired enough as it is… I don’t need to spend my weekend pureeing food! Bah.

  • http://thedalaimama.net the dalai mama

    Hope reigns supreme that my kid will one day eat something other than muffins, cheetos, cheese burgers and apple juice.

    The iPhone is a little heavy and you absoultely must have 2 fridges…doesn’t everyone?

  • Nick

    Wow. Brings back memories. You know of when my lovely wife, my daughter and her younger brother went to a little greek diner for a special meal. The boy would not eat anything except the buttered toast. Until the end of the meal. With a sadistic glint in her eye, my wife asked my son to eat a stuffed grape leaf. Naturally, he refused. Then, Arching an eyebrow, she offered, “You don’t have to, but if you eat a grapeleaf, I’ll give you $5.”

    He was in agony for over fifteen minutes, repeatedly cursing us (thumbnail on tooth, not obscenities,) “Why are you doing this to me?” then, tearfully, he choked down the grapeleaf. $5 in hand, he glowered at us while we polished off dessert. As we buckled up in the car he stated ever-so-quietly, “That was pretty good, I guess.”

  • Kristine

    Ah, the good ol’ power of “well such-and-such tastes just like ___, you’re really missing out”. How I laughed and loved this story with every word! LOVED it! Can’t wait until she’s older (of course 21) and you’re trying to convince her to try bourbon. Ha!

    PS – I have a Powderpuff Chinese Crested who has more hair than a wooly mammouth and sheds like no one’s business and she’s half of Chuck’s size. I bought the LARGE Furminator comb months ago and it’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Well, ok my second favorite thing next to bourbon. I can now sit on the sofa in a black dress and not curse myself to hell for having a dog that sheds.

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow; I have a 2-year-old and can SO relate to every last detail of this story!
    Also, I [heart] your pediatrician.

  • Chris

    You guys are so cute.

  • Lori

    That story made me laugh out loud! I have a picky 4-year old too, but our trials are not anywhere near what you have with Leta. Congratulations on broadening her dietary horizons!!

  • Ashlea

    Have you heard of this book? “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld? If not you should really check it out, I heard about it from a friend, immediately bought it, and it changed my life. I have a picky eater too (a 4 year old son) and now he is regularly eating cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and squash WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT. Seriously, I now recommend this book to every mom of a picky eater. Here is a link to it on Amazon:

  • http://www.lovemaegan.com …loveMaegan

    What is it with kids and candy? Are there subliminal messages in toy commercials luring children to not only desire the particular toy but to have a love affair with candy too? They don’t even know why but they WANT it. Even if they don’t know what it is. …maybe it has something to do with pinatas.

  • Sarah

    When I was 2, my mother had to chase me around the kitchen and SIT ON ME to get me to try apple pie. And she makes the best apple pie in the world. From scratch.

  • http://www.slackerpapa.com Kile

    She sounds like my 2 year old. He has like 3 things he eats on a regular basis and we’re suprised when he eats ANYTHING especially something like a pancake. My 8 year old could live on only smiley face pancakes.