There Is a Tablecloth On My Battlefield

If there is one thing that might make me snap as a parent, causing me to fly through the house punching holes through walls and tearing down wallpaper with my fingernails, it will be my daughter’s eating habits.

My 6-year-old wonderful, artistically gifted, verbally advanced, sensitive darling who is the pickiest damned eater I have ever had the misfortune to live with and be unable to employ threats of violence against.

If she had her way, her diet would consist of the following, and probably only the following:

  • Milk, chocolate milk and orange juice
  • Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
  • Bacon and hot dogs (occasionally supplemented with chicken or steak)
  • Green apples, grapes, mandarin oranges and the occasional banana
  • Annie’s Shells & Cheese
  • Tootsie Roll lollipops and gummy anything
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Processed cheese sticks and extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Yogurt
  • Corn, but only sweet summer corn and only on the cob, heavily salted
  • Gravy (mashed potatoes are considered an inefficient delivery device that merely impedes her ability to drink the gravy)
  • French fries
  • Salt or soy sauce, with or without food that requires it, and preferably deposited thickly enough that you cannot see the food beneath it

Now, of course, I give her credit for eating fruit. More power to her. But she’d still rather eat her weight in bacon instead (with the exception of fresh summer strawberries). Also, she occasionally has good taste in cheese and likes yogurt. But as you might notice, the emphasis is on grease/salt/sweets and there is nary a vegetable to be found except for the corn, which is available for only a month or two during the year.

I get that kids can be picky and might eschew veggies. But this is a child into whom we must struggle even to get “normal” kid foods sometimes.

She eats hot dogs, but without any bun or condiments. She will grudgingly eat a hamburger, but just the patty. She hates spaghetti.

This is a girl who recently dipped her French fries into her chocolate milk and declared it delicious, yet won’t eat pork cooked in a sweet mandarin orange sauce even though she likes both of those foods, too, individually.

We can’t get tacos in her. Or sandwiches (except for the occasional jelly sandwich). A banana chocolate chip muffin is acceptable, but rarely is blueberry, and never is a cinnamon-crusted one, much less anything that trends toward pretending to be healthy. She professes to like scrambled eggs but I suspect that’s just an excuse to have something on which to pour salt so that she can hasten her arrival at gross hypertension before she reaches college, because she always picks at them and dawdles when eating them. She’ll eat pancakes, but mostly to get the maple syrup, which she will try to scoop up as often as possible while avoiding the pancakes.

This is a girl so stubborn about eating that if you give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat, she will feign being full or ill and go to bed starving rather than eat a single bite.

It’s maddening.

And to top it all off, if you give her food she adores, she’ll beg to eat it in the living room while watching TV rather than sit with her family.

So many parents wish their kids wouldn’t eat them out of house and home.


I’d give my left nut for her to make us go broke buying her organic zucchini, Brussels spouts, mixed greens, broccoli and green beans.

But for now I’ll settle for her eating her hotdog with a bun or shoving some spaghetti in her craw.

4 thoughts on “There Is a Tablecloth On My Battlefield

  1. poshbird

    Oh my she’s a smart cookie ! Seriously though her diet is far better than some friends kids I’ve seen. As a mum to a 16yr old i can vouch and say that tastes change as kids grow and so don’t fret. Amazingly kids seem to extract the required nutrition from fresh air, fluff and limited foodstuffs ! She’ll be ok :-) x

  2. Deacon Blue

    Can I put her in a pot of soil and just water her a few times a day, then? Because that would also cut down on the injuries from running in socks on hardwood floors in a really old house. 😉

  3. robyn

    cinnamon. it is all about ht e cinnaomn. seriously: you will never have to worry about her eating as long as it is from this list. you have it EASY! one day she will branch out. or not. who cares? ya know what would be sad? if you forced her to eat something and she got ill. like kids with allergies or celiac or crohn’s or diabetes… btw, my kids LOVE to dip their french fries in ice cream, especially ice cream shakes. go figure.

  4. Deacon Blue

    My biggest problem is the veggie thing. I wasn’t big on veggies as a kid (big-time carnivore) but I still ate waaaaaay more of them than she does.

    Also, a big problem is that she often won’t eat what we’re eating, and it’s a huge pain in the patootie to cook separate food for her…particularly when so many of the meals we eat are meals most kids would have no problem with.

    I don’t expect her to be adventurous…that took a while with me too (my mom would take me to Chinese places and be embarrassed when all I would was uncooked chow mein noodles with soy sauce). But I hate that she won’t even eat a lot of basic kid-friendly fare. It makes cooking and eating a huge chore.


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