I made an appointment for Dash to see a food specialist next month. I feel like he’s finally at the point where he wants to eat new foods, but he doesn’t know how. “Just tasting them” is not a runner here. He won’t taste them; if I happen to catch him on that one day of the new moon when the tides are just so and the day has an n in it, and he does taste something new, he’ll most likely not like it. If the stars align so that he says it’s actually okay, he considers that one tiny nibble contains enough nutrients for a lifetime and he’ll never taste it again.
When I called his pediatrician to find out where we should go, she said “So, I understand Dash has some anxiety around eating.”
“Anxiety?” I said. Honestly, you might be rolling your eyes, but I’d never thought about it that way. “No… I wouldn’t call it anxiety, exactly. He’s not worried about it. He just doesn’t do it.”
I suppose we’ll find out more when we see the doctor. Maybe that is what you call anxiety. He’d certainly be very anxious if I forced him to taste new foods against his will, but that would be because to do that I’d have to literally hold him down and force his mouth open. As it is, he says no in no uncertain terms, and that’s just it. There is no moving him. He’s not a child to be persuaded on this front. Never has been.
On the other hand, he does have some anxiety about going on vacation this summer to a country where all the (few) things he habitually eats might not be available. He’s never before mentioned that he’s been upset or even really noticed that he wasn’t eating anything much when we’ve gone to Ireland before. Maybe it’s because Italy is more of an unknown quantity, but I think it’s also because he’s more conscious of it now in a way he wasn’t before. He also doesn’t want to do camp this summer mainly – he says – because he thinks the kids will tease him about having the same thing for lunch every day.
(I don’t think they would. I don’t think he’d be the only kid with the same thing every day, and it’s not as if it’s weird food – it’s a peanut butter sandwich, for goodness sake. And I’m not convinced this is the only thing stopping him from doing camp. But I haven’t yet got to the bottom of that particular mystery.)
I don’t know what might come of it. I can hardly expect to suddenly have a child who eats everything. But if we could somehow succeed in expanding his repertoire just a little, as far as his sister’s, maybe, that would be a huge step. At least she eats pizza and pasta.