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Vacation in Bizarro World: How to Feed a Stubborn Child

December 21st, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

Hello, readers! Do you like blog posts by parents about the ease/difficulty with which they feed their children? You do? Oh, boy! Then I’ve got one for you:

The thing with Sasha is, she’s unpredictable. Predictably so. There are things she likes to eat (noodles, rice, cereal, oranges, ice cream, lollipops) and things she doesn’t like to eat.

Except that that is not at all true. This 2-year-old simply eats what she wants, when she feels like it.

Which makes vacations (and, I guess, everyday life) a bit of a trial. Away from home, on the road, living out of restaurants, we are confronted at every minute by the terrifying question “What are we going to feed the baby?!?” The most frustrating part is that no matter how hard we try to game the system, we lose.

Yesterday at lunch, for example, we decided to hit up Mozza, the renowned Mario Batali–Nancy Silverstone pizzeria a few blocks from our rented house. Chowhound told us it was family-friendly (high chairs and high noise level = good), and it was—Sasha’s now old enough to enjoy the paper and crayons they hand out to younger diners. Well, enjoy them for a few minutes before throwing everything on the ground, I guess.

Why Mozza? Because it’s Italian food. Easy. EEEEAAAASSSSYYYY, right? Breadsticks on the table—bland, crunchy, hand-holdable—she should love those. Oh, wait, nope, she’s drooling them out of her mouth. Okay, how about a dish of fat meatballs in tomato sauce—that’s just the kind of thing she eats all the time at home. Nope! Oh, wait, she’s putting a nibble in her mouth, and . . . now it’s on the floor. Nix to the arancini, too.

But . . . put a pile of chopped salad (lettuce, radicchio, salami, provolone) in front of her, and she goes to town, stuffing forkfuls into her mouth. Or, huh? No, none of it really seems to be getting in, or staying in. Forget it.

At last, the pizza comes out, the marvelous egg, guanciale, radicchio, and bagna cauda we’ve been waiting for. And yes, Sasha does love the crust, devouring it as we knew she would.

But fuck. It’s like there’s no rhyme or reason to any of this. The things she’s supposed to like, the things she’s liked in the past, seem totally alien in a restaurant setting, and we wind up happy if she slobbers over a few pieces of crust.

There just isn’t that much to say about this. We suffer and strive and do what we can, knowing that she’s pretty much getting the nutrition she needs, and that one day it will all be better. I just wish that today was today. But it’s always tomorrow.


  1. AH says:

    December 22nd, 2010at 8:38 am(#)

    My daughter did/does the same thing.

    We went on a trip when she was 14 months. She would not nap in the pack and play thing *and* she wouldn’t eat. We resorted to feeding her baby food as she refused all other foodstuffs! And then we all got colds, but that’s another story.

    She loves her own safety zone, and anything outside that has taken some work for her to get used to. I also think it’s a control thing too. She feels off-balance in the new situation and she takes control to make herself feel better. And one the few thing she has absolute control over is her eating.

    She’s 3 now and is better at restaurants (not that we got out very much, anyway). I am too wary of traveling long distances with her *still*. So we haven’t.

  2. Kenny says:

    March 30th, 2011at 7:19 pm(#)

    Next time you go out for pizza, you try what she was doing. It could be a lot of fun to be a kid again.

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