Tonight, I made homemade turkey meatballs (including shaved carrots, onion, garlic and spices) with a side of steamed broccoli for dinner. Sylvia chose "pasta sauce" (marinara) to dunk the meatballs in, and proceeded to eat five meatballs and most of her broccoli (with lemon juice on it). This feast -- eaten with relish and without complaint -- comes from MY toddler, the same kid who has recently become a full-fledged picky eater. She is unpredictable in what is good or bad, with the only acceptable constants being hot dogs, cheese, fruit and Cheerios.
Let me tell you: there is something primal, something deeply satisfying about preparing a meal from scratch and having your progeny eat it. I was a good gatherer. I provided for the offspring. She will live another day.
I don't have any great wisdom to add about dealing with picky eaters. I comfort myself that it is evolutionary: Malcolm Gladwell has an article that discusses how two-year-olds, who were old enough to start gathering with their mothers, developed a natural aversion to anything new as a way to guard against eating poisonous berries and other dangers out in the wild. I know it often goes beyond some aversions, though: I have a friend who's amazingly brilliant and charming child will only eat about three foods; after four years of trying everything, they are taking the child to therapy for the second time.
Kids are weird. Parenting is hard. But today, today I had a victory. And I will celebrate it (knowing that tomorrow, she will likely refuse the meatballs and throw a fit for bread with butter).