Mom Hack (from picky to licky)

DSC_0642-1 Today I’m excited to share a guest post from one of my favorite people, my friend Jillian Burden. Jill and I met in college and I remember being amazed by her from day one, she’s stunning inside and out. She’s on my short list of people I want to go out for coffee with, because she laughs deeply and listens so intentionally. 

Jill and her husband John brought home their first child, their Son Artem, in November shortly before US / Russian adoptions shut down.  I love being on the mothering journey with Jill, even if from a distance, her joy and love for her son and orphans world wide are contagious. So without further adieu… 

I just love food. I love the way a toasted piece of sourdough soaks up the savory flavors of tomato basil soup. I love the creamy/sweet contrast of goat cheese and red pepper jelly on a thin, crisp water cracker. And I really love the sweet and salty slurpy wonderfulness of any kind of peanut butter and soy sauce noodle dish. I’m not a natural born talent in the kitchen, but I’ve taught myself to cook because I need a means to get to the end of delicious food.

Not only do I love to eat food myself, but I love to cook for others. I think one of my love languages is feeding people. So you can imagine that as I stood on the precipice of motherhood, I had grand visions of cooking beautiful dinners to be enjoyed with great thanksgiving by my hungry children.

And then my husband and I brought home a picky eater. We adopted our two-year-old son Arie three months ago from Moscow, Russia and he survived Thanksgiving through Christmas on cheese, bananas and multivitamins.

Our pediatrician assured me this was normal and that it could take up to 16 “tastes” of a new food before we’d actually get him to eat it.

Turns out though, sixteen tastes is a lot. Especially when you’re wiping them off a chin or a bib or a floor for the tenth day in a row. Actually, wiping food that was spit out from our son’s mouth was something of a victory because most of the time he’d guard his tongue by pressing his lips together like an oyster hiding a pearl. Short of forcing a spoonful of yogurt in his mouth, I had no idea how I was going to get sixteen tastes in there.

I won’t lie; I was feeling a little desperate.

Picky Eaters

I guess genius sometimes lives in desperation because therein I found my answer: food licking.

It started off with, “Hey Arie can you stick out your tongue??” (Yes- he’s two; he can definitely stick out his tongue) and progressed to, “Watch Mama lick this berry!” slurp slurp slurp “Isn’t that funny??”

Sure enough, he started giggling and licking. Little does he know, licking is the same as tasting. Over the next few weeks, small licks became big licks, and big licks became nibbles, and nibbles became bites!

Arie licking

Unintended consequence: first time we baked together, he licked the dry ingredients.

We’ve moved from a list of two acceptable foods to about 20. We’re still licking too, so here’s hoping that list continues to grow!

There’s my mom hack: teach your picky eater to lick her food. I hope the licks turn into bites for you too!

WHAT– Teach your picky eater to lick her food before rejecting it.
WHY– Because just getting one “taste” in her mouth is one step closer to getting her to actually eat it.
TIPS / HOW- After she takes a couple licks she has to eat it or put it aside, otherwise you might have a lick-fest on your hands. And that’s just bad manners. 😉

DSC_0013Bio: Jillian Burden is an adoptive mother, blogging about her adoption & parenting journey and all the blessing, lament, joy, and conviction that happen along the way.

Check out Jill’s writing at her blog
Follow Jill on Facebook
And on twitter here

PS If you’re interested in sharing a mom hack let me know by sending an email my way!

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  • Rebekah

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing! This would have been perfect to use with my toddlers when I used to teach at a daycare. I had some very picky eaters! I’ll have to keep it in mind for the future! Is it ok if I pin this to one of my Pinterest boards?

    • Leanne Penny

      Thank you, here’s to getting little ones to eat what truly nourishes them. And yes, always pin! Pin away!

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