The "picky eater" - it is a nice name for someone who drives their mother nuts!! Y has never been a great eater, right from the time she started solids around 5 months. She weighed a good 3.8 kg at birth but it's all been downhill from there. At one point she was at the 5th percentile for weight. I kid you not. From 3.8 kg to the 5th percentile. I asked her pediatrician (we lived in the US at the time) what he thought about it and he said he didn't see a problem. I wanted to conk him over the head. She had been dropping steadily from 50th, to 30th, to 25th, to 10th and now 5th percentile and he was ok with it???!!!! Pray, when would he start getting concerned? Rationally, I knew enough not to worry. One, she has the skinny genes. Ads for all his voracious eating has his ribs showing, stick-like arms and legs. Their father is slender. I don't put on weight that easily. Y will thank us for this genetic bonus when she is older. Two, she is super-active and I know that over the course of a week, she is probably getting most of her nutrient stock. Three, breastfed babies gain weight less rapidly than exclusively formula-fed babies, babies who are on a diet of breastmilk AND formula during the first 6 months of life, as well as babies who start solids before 6 months. This is something I learnt much after the 5th percentile episode. I wish I had learnt about it earlier since it would have saved me a lot of worry (and guilt, and having to counter unsolicited advice from people)
She is 2 and a half now and mealtimes are my least favourite part of the day. There are precisely 5 items that I know for sure she will eat - omelettes, roasted potato curry, plain white rice, chips and Haldiram bhujia. Except for the omelette, and I concede the potato as well, the other options are so unhealthy! And oh, she will eat anything that's savoury and fried. Murukku, thattai, seedai - all par for the course. I'm not one of those moms who will make a huge effort to churn out creative foodstuff for their kids. You know, the sandwich with the smiley face, the red pepper cut in the shape of a flower, that kind of thing? My rule is - no separate meals prepared for the kids after they start on real solids. They eat what I cook for the adults and if they don't like it, they just stay hungry. So Y has frequently eaten a meal of just rice, or just potato and I compensate by getting her to drain a glass of milk or Pediasure later (half of which she vomits out to spite me!)
She's growing - more so in length - as well as can be expected. She's very bright and very active. So I shouldn't be worried, and I'm not, except that I think the need for moms to feed their children, and see them eating well, is such a strong emotional need that it takes a huge effort to break out of that mindset. Every now and then I succumb and feel guilty that I must not be trying hard enough, or I'm a lousy cook. Every now and then someone makes a comment like this: She must have developed a squint because she is underweight. Now that's a whopper to lay me low for the rest of the week!