Like many nearly-four year olds, JSL is a very finicky eater. For lunches and dinners he tends to like only about five or so foods: Macaroni and Cheese, Pizza, Chicken Nuggets, Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Greek Yogurt and maybe a couple more. Even if you stick to a “JSL approved food”, say pizza, you can still run afoul of JSL’s finickiness. I make pizza at home and JSL will peel off the cheese and refuse to eat it. This is despite the fact that JSL loves cheese in general and even likes nibbling on the leftover pizza cheese before it is cooked.
During the year, getting JSL to eat foods outside of his comfort zone can be a challenge. However, it is currently Passover which means that “challenge” has turned into “impossibility.” Pasta (as in Mac and Cheese) is a Passover no-no. Pizza crust can’t be consumed. The breading on chicken nuggets is forbidden. Cream cheese sandwiches can be made with matzoh, but it is a poor substitute for bread.
As such, JSL hasn’t been eating much. During the first Passover seder, JSL ate matzoh balls from matzoh ball soup. (He didn’t even want the soup.) When it came time for the meal, he turned his nose up and declared himself full. (He re-found his appetite when dessert time rolled around.) The second seder was a repeat of the first. Three matzoh balls made it to his stomach and nothing else. He even refused chocolate cake… and it was good too, a rarity for Passover desserts.
Yesterday, he refused breakfast and lunch completely. Even when we made him something he declared that he wanted (yogurt with chocolate sauce and chocolate chip macaroons mixed in), he sat down, put the spoon to his lips and then said “I want something else!” Just before dinner time, he began whining that he was hungry. B gave him some American cheese slices (5 in all), but then he refused dinner (potato crusted fish shaped “fish sticks” with quinoa). I had even served him plain quinoa knowing he’d reject the one with veggies in it.
This morning, JSL woke up, snuggled in our bed and fell back asleep. When he got up again, he said he didn’t feel good and wound up throwing up on our sheets. He tossed his cookies again (not that there was anything in his tummy to toss) later that morning. He seemed to feel better later on and we don’t think he’s sick. Instead, we think he was just so hungry from rejecting all of his options that he worked himself into a frenzy and all but made himself throw up.
Sadly, Passover isn’t even half over yet. There are still five more days to go as I write this (Thursday night). I’m sure that, after Passover has ended, JSL will go back to gorging himself on all of his familiar favorites. I just hope that, by the end of the matzoh season, B’s and my hair hasn’t turned completely white from the stress of a nearly-four year old on a hunger strike!
So what do you do when your child refuses all breakfast, lunch and dinner options?