Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Eureka Moment

Tonight at dinner, Calliope discovered...


And the act of dipping.

I've been making hamburgers for us (I've started eating dinner with her in an effort to get her to eat more adventurously) a lot in the last week, as she showed ever more interest in the idea of eating one. Last night she even tasted, twice, the bun that the hamburger had been resting on!

And both last night and tonight, she chortled with glee as I shook the ketchup bottle. It seems she thought I was doing it to bring a dramatic flair to dinner? Anyway, tonight she started pointing at the ketchup bottle and asking for it in one of her nonsensical syllable questions. I was puzzled but finally figured out she wanted to try it.

So I squeezed a small dollop onto her tray. Her tiny finger grazed it ever so slightly, and then to my amazement, she actually stuck the finger into her mouth (have I mentioned that she's a "cautious" eater? Much more likely to let me feed her something new than to feed it to herself). And then came back for a slightly bolder poke into this strange red stuff.

And then she let me dip a little crumb of hamburger meat into the ketchup and put it into her mouth! She didn't want to touch the hamburger meat, but allowed me to give her several bites this way. Very exciting progress. Especially because lots of folks have recommended dipping as a way to entice a toddler to eat... but until now, dips seemed to freak her out, and made her reject food.

She also was very interested in the avocado that I was slicing to put on my half of the burger, and willingly ate several bites of that, another first for her. She's tasted avocado before, but always gagged on it. This was the first time she asked for second and third bites.

Now, after reading French Children Eat Everything, which I highly recommend -- a fun and interesting read about a Canadian family that moves to France for the year with their two young children and learns to feed them the French way -- hamburgers and dipping food into ketchup are not exactly the promised land.

But this is major progress from where she was.

Now maybe we can move on to homemade chicken nuggets! I still have a batch in the freezer since she never was willing to even taste them before. I am hoping that maybe she will eat them with the ketchup?

Once we master a few more kid foods, I will try again to introduce some slightly more grown up fare. And without ketchup, ideally. Two weeks ago I tried flounder, lovingly dipped in flour and then seared in butter but she wouldn't even taste it. I will keep trying. The suggestion of eating with her (at 5:15) definitely seems to be helping. And although it's adjustment to get used to eating so early, it's not so bad.

It was hard not to act excited during dinner, to see my child willingly eat all these new foods, but I really try to show no emotion, because her eating should not be in any way connected to our relationship, or to earning or rejecting my approval. So I've saved my victory dance for all of you! Hooray!

"Mommy, I'm ready to help!"
In another effort to broaden her eating repertoire, we've started cooking together. The
past two weekends, she has helped me chop vegetables for chicken soup... and she tasted, 
of her own volition, all the vegetables in the soup! This weekend, she even went back
for a second bite of raw mushroom!  

Now how do we put the carrot back together again?

She got very whiny and upset this past weekend when I started to chop without her. When
she saw the package of mushrooms, she kept pointing at them and saying "ha! ha!" in
a plaintive voice. I finally figured out that meant help! She wanted to help! 
So she handed me each mushroom cap so I could wipe it off, then put them back in the 
I always dreamed of cooking with a child... I can't believe I'm already doing it! So cool.


  1. I adore the pictures of her cooking! Good job, Mama.

  2. Tate loves ketchup too. We found it around the same age. I give him some every once and a while for his rotisserie chicken. Sadly, most other dips he won't or can't try (if they're egg based), but he loves ketchup.

    So interesting you point out she's a cautious eater and eats better if you feed her. Tate is still the same way when it comes to foods he's not interested in (which number in the millions). If I feed him his broccoli, he'll happily eat it most times. Left to his own devices he won't touch it. So I feed it to him. Sigh. It's been a process for us with his limited menu, but I too am making an effort to eat with him. And if he doesn't finish or eat his food he gets nothing else. Worked last night when he kept asking for cheese; I kept reminding him if his belly was hungry he had sweet potatoes and corn on his plate. He finally ate them and then grabbed a cheese and chowed down. :0

    And How cool that that you always dreamed of cooking with your child. That never entered in my thought process. So cool how very different we all dream of being parents. :)

  3. Way to go Calliope!!! It is great that she is trying new things! So far, Isaac hasn't met a baby food he doesn't like, however, I was an extremely picky eater (still am) and I'm just really hoping that he doesn't change.

  4. This is definitely the age of wanting to help. Finn now helps to make his breakfast every morning - he opens his yogurt, and mixes in the oatmeal (with a little help). I've started getting him involved with cooking, too. He likes to stand on the stool and watch and mix - I like the idea of handing him food to touch and wipe off, even if not needed, just so he can really feel hands on.

    I hope this is the turning point for Calliope and she turns into a big eater, finally!

  5. LOVE the photos of Calliope helping out in the kitchen. I would never have imagined a little one her age would be ready for that level of "assistance!"

    I have tried to introduce Rowan to dips, including ketchup, but without any major success. One thing I tried once was to put some grape jelly on turkey meatballs--the Swedish eat them with ligonberry so why not? I had tried some toast with jelly on it and the items got kind of mixed together on the plate and she ate one bite so I purposely added it to a few chunks and she put them in her mouth and chewed before spitting them out. Unfortunately we are backtracking from that--now she won't even touch the meat.

  6. What is it with ketchup that entices kids so? These are great eating strides, yeah for you both! The cooking together idea is genius & you get huge kudos for it since it definitely requires major patience.

  7. wow, she's such a little person now, and looks like a great and enthusiastic helper!