Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Picky Picky Picky

What is it about a my daughter Cora that makes her so against trying new foods? Is it something she picked up from her friends? Her father and me? Is is simply that she's four years old?
Today, when she asked to make her own quesadilla for lunch, I had no idea it would turn into a battle of wills. I just did my mom duties. I placed a tortilla on a plate in front of her, then handed her the bag of shredded cheese mix. Then, as I watched, she began separating the cheddar cheese from the jack cheese. "I just want the yellow cheese, Mama," she explained. For some reason, this infuriated me. "Don't do that," I said, "Just put it all on. You'll like it."
"No!" she responded. After the cheese was separated, Cora slowly began arranging the cheese into a smiley face on her tortilla. A few minutes later she announced it was ready. "It's for Jody" she said, gesturing to her little brother. Are you kidding me? All this and she's not even going to eat it?
Eventually I agreed to make her a cheese sandwich, and her little brother was more than happy to eat the quesadilla with both kinds of cheese on it. As I drove her to preschool I tried to shake the anger that had so easily taken hold me. After all, it was just a sandwich. There were many foods she liked and ate. I guess what really bothered me is the idea of having a picky child. How could I, an open-minded, omnivorous eater, have a child that refuses to even taste new things? Perhaps it is just the beginning of my daughter's lifelong battle to separate herself from me, her way of saying "I am part of you, but I am not you." This is the reality of having a daughter. Because she will look like me, be my gender, and take after me in many ways she would rather not acknowledge for the rest of her life, she must work that much harder to establish her own identity. Now all I have to do is accept that.

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