The good news is that dinners at the table continue to go swimmingly. I’ve been “forgetting” about the star charts for ages now, and everyone still shows up in their seat at 6.00. Thanks to the light in the kitchen going kablooey and needing a call to the electrician to replace, we’re even eating in the dining room, which adds to the formality of the occasion and makes it more of A Thing. Which is nice.
The bad news is that Dash has taken agin his peanut-butter sandwiches somewhat, in the last couple of days.
If you’re new around here, you won’t know about Dash and his food issues. He has Food Issues. He takes picky eater to new heights. Which is really what I want to talk about, but let me preface it by asking you not to send me to Ellyn Satter or It’s not about nutrition or any of those other great resources out there for helping you get your child to eat. Chances are I’ve already seen it. I’m also over and done with blaming myself for starting him out the wrong way by giving him solids too early or too late or too mushy or too whole or too much grains or too much fruit or all the other things you might suspect. It’s not my fault. It’s the way he’s built. (I know this because my second child is a perfectly normal picky eater and I did much the same with her.)
Anyway, with that said, I will skip over all of Before and get us to Now. If you want to read about Before, search for posts tagged “Eating.”
A while ago someone told me about supertasters and I got all excited, because I thought maybe Dash was one, and that that would explain everything. Supertasters basically taste at a higher level than the rest of us, so regular tastes seem far too strong for them. It’s not a medical diagnosis or anything, but I thought it would be nice to have a label for him that would help other people get that we’re not just letting him eat ice cream all day because he doesn’t like his veggies. (We’re not.)
Then I reconsidered, because when he tastes pasta he spits it out and complains that it’s “too plain.” I didn’t see how I could reconcile that with being a supertaster. First things are too strong, then they’re too bland. Was he just being stubborn for the sake of it? Because he really wanted to subsist on nothing but peanut-butter sandwiches for ever?
Then I heard from someone whose son is a grownup supertaster that he said bland foods can also taste terrible, just in a different way. She said he would never eat rice or pasta. BINGO! I thought. I read some more about it today and a lot of things rang bells: not liking carbonated drinks, finding orange juice horribly bitter, running a mile from broccoli and kale… (okay, so he’s not the only child to do that). There was a test you can do with food colouring and a hole punched in a piece of paper. You’re meant to count how many little bumps on the tongue you can see through the hole. If you have 35 or more, you’re a supertaster.
I borrowed a tiny vial of blue food colouring and we were quite excited to do the experiment. I wasn’t quite sure about Dash’s result, so I did it on myself as well. By my count, we both come out as “non-tasters”, he slightly moreso than I. But I couldn’t see how anyone could possibly fit 35 or more papillae in that tiny space. And since I’m pretty confident that I taste quite well, thank you, I wonder if we did it wrong. (B has offered himself as a third guinea pig. I will let you know how that turns out.)
So maybe that theory has been exploded too. It was nice while it lasted. Apart from the general coolness factor of being a super-anything, it would have explained a lot that I find it hard to explain to people otherwise.
I suppose he’s still super-picky, but that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.