• Red

    Oh, I love this post! YAY for the Armstrongs. You and Jon are prefect for each other and perfect for your little Frog. :)

  • http://goatygoat.squarespace.com Lana

    Oooh…the possibilities are endless…next is jelly, then marshmallow, then straight to peach schnapps.

  • http://www.mydogumentary.wordpress.com gingela5

    She sounds like me now. Only I actually don’t even like syrup so I guess I’m pickier than a four year old : )

  • http://www.imaveg.blogspot.com/ plue

    This reminds me of my sister Judy at that age. She would only eat bowls of cereal for dinner — and after many many struggles with her (tears, tantrums, head-banging on the floor) we decided that it wasn’t worth it to battle her every evening.

    Of course, it was strange to take her to other people’s houses. Our lovely hostesses would tentatively prepare her a bowl of whatever cereal she had in the house and ask us if Judy really wouldn’t prefer the delicious dinner she had just spent hours preparing.

    Then one day, when I was in junior high, my mother taught me how to cook spaghetti — I made a big vat of it and while everyone in the household was trying it, Judy said, “I want some!”

    My mom was shocked and said, “YOU DO?”

    Everyone at the table watched as she ate some spaghetti, looked up at us and said, “I like it!”

    After that, my mother would trick her into eating by saying, “Your sister made it.” Which worked. And now she eats pretty normally.

  • http://www.csquaredplus3.typepad.com csquaredplus3

    That was great! I loved the description of not moving while waiting for the pancake. I know that horrible feeling – avoiding an inhale and an exhale, willing everything to be okay.

    Glad Leta’s enjoying pancakes. You and Jon are doing a great job!

    Illustrated perfectly!

  • http://www.imaveg.blogspot.com/ plue

    This reminds me of my sister Judy at that age. She would only eat bowls of cereal for dinner — and after many many struggles with her (tears, tantrums, head-banging on the floor) we decided that it wasn’t worth it to battle her every evening.

    Of course, it was strange to take her to other people’s houses. Our lovely hostesses would tentatively prepare her a bowl of whatever cereal she had in the house and ask us if Judy really wouldn’t prefer the delicious dinner she had just spent hours preparing.

    Then one day, when I was in junior high, my mother taught me how to cook spaghetti — I made a big vat of it and while everyone in the household was trying it, Judy said, “I want some!”

    My mom was shocked and said, “YOU DO?”

    Everyone at the table watched as she ate some spaghetti, looked up at us and said, “I like it!”

    After that, my mother would trick her into eating by saying, “Your sister made it.” Which worked. And now she eats pretty normally.

  • pac

    Oh….my…..God. You mean I’m not the only one suffering with a 7 year old who will only eat about five to seven things, mostly breakfast cereal; well, and pb&j too – sorry? The tears are running down my face (well, it is ragweed season here in the midwest), from pure, unadulterated joy in knowing that I am not the only one suffering in food hell. I keep wondering “how long will this last”? Well, anyone, how long??????????

  • Nhiro

    I’ve been to IHOP way too many times in the last two weeks and reading this post has once again caused my pancake cravings to flare up.

  • Hannah

    My husband does this sort of thing to ME. (I’m 31.) For years, I would blithely state “oh, I won’t eat X”. So he would then sneak X into whatever foods he could to prove me wrong.

    He’s only ever failed with coconut and cilantro.

    As for beating Leta with wooden implements, I agree, you must come to a consenus with Jon on which one to use. Does you no good if you turn up with a chopstick and he’s brandishing a wooden meat tenderizer. You lose the edge.

  • Kim

    oh the little victories of parenting! Savor them while yu can. So now if you can just convince her that broccoli tastes like candy – or you could just let her dip it in syrup… :)

  • http://www.foreverkaili.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Um . . . I LOVE IT. And I want my own Dooce! BPFTW!

  • http://www.mylucidreality.com Claudious

    I ate pancakes so much growing up that looking at them now makes me gag a little, I know with my children, they’re picky, and it’s nice to find something they’ll eat. Yay for pancakes!

  • Ashleigh

    This is why I come to to your site, day after day. Hysterical, just so much fun to read.

  • http://sushiforlunch.com Connie

    Leta would totally love living at my grandfather’s house as he makes pancakes EVERY SINGLE MORNING. I cannot emphasize that statement enough! He seriously lives off of that stuff.

  • http://awakingsleep.blogspot.com Becky

    I love how you guys take advantage of everyday things to find new ways to love each other. Thanks for sharing your lives:).

  • http://klawrie.carbonmade.com kali

    yaaayyyy! for pancakes!

  • http://sweetpot8o.blogspot.com/ kate

    “We sat there holding our breath, not looking at anything other than the table, afraid that if we moved at all that particles in the atmosphere would shift and she’d change her mind.”

    Every one who has managed to live through parenting a 2-4 year old can relate to that; thank you so much for saying it out loud. Perfection.

  • http://kwanzoo.com/social-trivia Liz

    I was the exactly opposite as a kid. Once, when I was barely on solid food, Mom left me in my high chair right near a big bowl of cole slaw, thinking to herself, “surely this little baby child won’t try to eat COLESLAW.”

    Oh how wrong she was. I had fistfulls. And I bet they were delicious.

  • http://www.missris.blogspot.com Ris

    When I was little I survived on dry Cheerios alone for about six months, no joke. I read stuff like this and want to hug my parents and apologize over and over again. Now I’m 24 and eat many varied and exotic things. It gets better!

  • miltoncat

    Oh, get this…

    My husband has an 18-year-old half-sister. She has survived on nothing but chicken nuggets.

    She does not eat beef, seafood, or bread. Dairy repulses her.

    My husband and I ate sushi in front of her and I thought her eyes were gonna ooze out of her head in disgust. The word “try” makes her insane. She will not try it unless it is a breaded, fried, grown poultry nugget.

    Sick, man. Sick.

  • http://sweetbeansshop.blogspot.com Lauren

    Victory! Congrats all around.

  • andrea

    Oh man. Pancakes ARE yucky.

    On a much more important note, Bob Costas makes me want to run out into traffic all while puncturing my juggular with a rusty butter knife. He has a turtle head.

  • http://thehusbandblog.wordpress.com The Husband

    Our seven-year-old eats chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pizza, pop tarts, and manicotti. Therefore, whenever we want him to try anything Italian, we tell him that it has manicotti sauce on it.

    It doesn’t work.

  • http://asianmommy.com/ Asianmommy

    Hee! We fight about food here all the time. It’s amazing how good it feels to get them to try just one bite of vegetables!

  • Angela

    SCORE!!!!! Ahhhhh…. the victories and thrills of parenting.

  • http://www.undomesticdiva.com Undomestic Diva

    Apparently I have the boy version of Leta, and he’s got a rebuttal for every argument we pose.

    The other night he said he was moving to grandma’s. We tried to guilt him out of it by saying, “Wow. I’m going to be very sad and miss you sooooo much.” To which he promptly replied, “Yeah, it will be hard, but you’ll be OK.”

    Jesus.

  • Christina

    There are so many things that you post about Leta that remind me of my oldest son. I think she’s very lucky to have you and Jon for parents, you are much more patient with her than I was with him at that age. Luckily I figured it out before I ruined him for life and we finally have peace and a kid who is very secure and happy.

    Oh and the pancake thing makes me laugh. He’s still quite picky and pancakes are one thing he will eat that I really wish he wouldn’t!

  • http://icouldcrybutidonthavetime.wordpress.com amyz5

    nice story. hysterical as always (amazing how many uses we can find for that butter knife, self surgery is a new one)

    but give me a break Heather, a pancake?!! that is a piece of… sorry too cliché.

    call me when you get her to eat broccoli!

    btw, my daughter (at 19) still refuses jelly with her peanut butter. i think it may be some sort of conspiracy.

  • Deanna

    My roommate in college had what I called the “white and orange diet.” Dinner was mini-pitas stuffed with shredded mozzarella from the salad bar, baked chicken, fries, and carrots. Whenever we’d go out to eat, she was the most adventurous person in the restaurant–she taught me to appreciate things like sea urchin, steak tartare, and the stank-nastiest of stinky cheeses–but when it came to the dining hall, white and orange. Period.

    For the record, I ate plain peanut butter sandwiches when I was a kid and eat them now as an adult. The consistency of grape jelly is icky to me. I did learn to love strawberry jam, though!

  • http://www.117Hudson.blogspot.com Kizz

    Nice work. Now I want pancakes, with butter and syrup and bacon, lots of bacon.

    I was going to suggest that you place a pancake near the poor girl and then have Coco LOOK AT IT.

  • http://www.jamietoadvine.blogspot.com Jamie

    First the exercise bus at school and now pancakes! What will be next, Jon? World domination?! Congrats!

  • Alice

    Good work! I hate the constant food struggle. My son has to be reconvinced about things he loves like pancakes, and even ice-cream. Let me tell you there is no bigger idiot than a mother trying to force her child to eat an ice-cream.

  • http://andij1967.wordpress.com/ Andi

    Congratulations on the major dietary coup! My six-year-old is a Selective Eater, too.

    Now that Leta loves pancakes, maybe you should try this recipe that I just posted on my blog. They’re a bit more healthy than plain pancakes, and my picky daughter LOVES them! Here’s the link:

    http://andij1967.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/oatmeal-banana-bread-pancakes/

    Good luck!

  • Blair

    I would literally eat anything as a kid, with the odd exception of raw tomatoes. What was wrong with me? Are all kids as generally finicky as Leta, or are they exceptions?

  • http://www.princesseemma.com/ Emma

    That’s great! So pleased Leta eats pancakes now!

    I got your book shipped to Australia and have started reading it – it’s so good!

  • http://www.jackandjillputupablog.com Jack&Jill

    Too funny. Gotta love the pancakes! I know you lived in LA…did you ever go to “The Griddle” in Hollywood? Giant fluffy pancakes stacked high with tons of different flavors. We got banana (the bananas were in the batter mix and on top) I have no affiliation to this place, I just went there this weekend and our jaws were on the table when the pancakes were placed in front of us…it is brought to you by the owner because she loves to see the reactions. Yummy…okay, now I’m hungry.

    Side note: Furminator Rocks! – It is not kidding around, I also got the shampoo…

  • http://www.hydrangeasarepretty.wordpress.com shelli

    What are the other 4?

    Malka’s in “her beige period,” right now – and we have discovered that she’ll even eat EGGS if she can “dip dip” them in syrup.

    I’m currently on a quest to see how well syrup and broccoli go together.

  • Joe

    From 4 to 5 things, that’s great.

  • Anne

    I was gonna recommend that book by Jessica Seinfeld too. I’ve only heard about it, but I’ve witnessed very picky children eating squash and carrots mixed into mac and cheese. They had no idea they were eating healthy food. Such a great trick!

  • http://bythemoonlight.wordpress.com/ Jennifer

    Congrats on getting Leta to try something new. I’m very impressed. Before having kids I never understood that you can’t make them do what they don’t want to do. It just didn’t make sense to me. Then I gave birth to a very strong willed child. What a learning experience. She’s now 6 and is beginning to mellow out a bit.

    My 2 year old is a really picky eater but she is very quiet about it. If we don’t stay on top of her meals she’ll just move the food around and then sneak away while I’m tending to the 1 year old. She would be happy to live on grapes, green beans and fruit snacks.

  • http://www.kritterkrit.blogspot.com Kritter Krit

    “How about I grab it off the plate and aim it at your head like a frisbee.”

    GOT to be one of the best lines ever.

    And now is where I pause to say count your blessings. (But not in the tacky way it sounds.) But seriously, at least she’ll eat five things. It could always be worse. (You never tire of hearing that, right? …And then hearing the “my daughter” stories that follow.) My daughter, who didn’t learn to swallow due to severe dysphagia and reflux until very recently (and she’s almost four), survives on a diet of milk and condiments. Ranch. Ketchup. Mustard. Sour cream.

    Oh, and a Scooby Doo multi-vitamin. =)

  • amy

    Your daughter can marry my son. A peanut butter sandwich (or a girlfriend who eats them) will kill him.

    And he lodged an Australian one-dollar coin in his stomach a few weeks ago. That’s slightly larger and about twice as thick as a US quarter. Tossed it in the air and caught it in his mouth. Or rather, his innards, since it went straight down. How’s that for talented?

    For a week there, he was worth an extra buck. But you find some, you lose some…

  • http://tracifishbowl.blogspot.com Traci

    I love it! We have the same battles w/ our 4 year old on an almost nightly basis. She eats chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and um…yeah that’s it. Every morning — mini pancakes. But the MUST be mini, not “regular” size.

    I try to get her to sample new things, and normally that turns into a screaming match and I lose my mind. The other night she cried and wailed about not wanting to try roast beef. And then she tried it. And was all, “oh wow, this doesn’t taste like dog shit.”

    I think she comes by it naturally. When I was a kid my dad made me sit at the dinner table for THREE HOURS because I refused to try fried rice. I had to sit there with a plate of cold fried rice in front of me. I never did try it.

  • Megan

    I have two girls who are comparatively excellent eaters. The 6yo gets a bit funny about vegetables, she’d rather not have them, but she still eats them at every meal (fruit with breakfast). With that in mind, I may not have a fully rounded view of eating problems. I know they’re real problems that give real parents real grief. I don’t want to undermine that. But it still feels like this isn’t a universal problem. If these kids were fighting their siblings for their share of their daily bowl of rice, they probably wouldn’t be turning their nose up at the lack of ketchup. Also, I have a friend whose son refuses to eat anything but Pop Tarts for breakfast. My girls never ask for Pop Tarts, because they’ve never had one…

  • amy

    (303 continued) And actually, we feed him sugar on bread. Karo Light Syrup, to be exact. In addition to the life-threatening peanut (and egg) allergy, he also has a very rare enzyme deficiency that makes it impossible for him to digest sucrose (regular sugar). His favorite sandwiches are syrup on bread, ketchup on bread (hey, lycopenes!) and pizza sauce with parmesan on bread. Always white bread, since he can’t digest maltose, either, which is found in whole grain breads.

    It’s all about calories, people. Syrup on bread and a cucumber for lunch. Pork chops for dinner. He’s got to have a little control in his life.

  • Betty

    My 4 yr old is on the same pancake road, but she actually doesn’t even like the syrup.
    She likes maybe 6 things.
    pancakes. m&c. cheese pizza. oatmeal. apples.
    Usually.
    Every single day of preschool she has chicken noodle soup. Which I still puree (not the noodles) so she doesn’t know there are, gasp, “vegables” in it… heaven forbid she finds a miniscule chunk of carrot, celery or onion.
    Boy do I feel your pain/frustration/”whatever!!!”

  • Dackerson

    I put wheatgerm in the pancake batter and everything I bake, to add some protein, since my own version of Leta will not touch meat or anything that looks like meat. Her diet is ricecakes, granola bars, cereal, Dora The Explorer vitamins, cheese crackers, and various things I bake, (muffins, pancakes, cookies, even on top of Giardelli’s brownies) and milk. The occasional carrot or apple will cross her lips, but I too have learned not to hold my breath. It takes a month or more sometimes to add one new item to her usual suspects. She is just like me and would rather drink a meal from a can than have anything icky or with a questionable texture ever touch her tongue.

  • JK

    omg, i laughed so hard when i read this that coffee came out of my nose. i swear.

    i have a 7 year old, and she WON’T EAT MACARONI AND CHEESE!!! I KNOW!! it’s crazy. i mean, who doesn’t like pasta and cheese?!

    every time i get her to taste something different, i too experience that surge of excitement.

    I love these kinds of posts–keep it up!

  • http://noclicky.blogspot.com The Cube Monkey

    Leta SO reminds me of my son when he was young. He would eat what he decided he would eat. He acted like we were attempting to poison him if we attempted to introduce something new.

  • http://www.eatersregret.wordpress.com Eater’s Regret

    Ah Dooce, you poor poor child! Your heart must be broken trying to get her to eat things, I have to admire her stubbornness though! Gotta love a child that stands by her principles.