Thumb, Sucker

My son is exceedingly reluctant to try new foods, and introducing anything new into his diet requires a well-orchestrated campaign to have any chance of success.

The first step is to simply place the whatever on his plate, alongside familiar foods, in the hopes that he will not realize that it is something new. This, to the best of my recollection, has succeeded exactly zero times.

Stage two is “just eat a little bit”, in which I segregate some small portion of the whatever away from the main corpus, and cajole him into eating that. This works infrequently. Next, I cut off a similar-sized piece for myself and make a grand show of eating it; unlike when he was younger he seems to get this now, and on rare occasions will follow suit.

If none of this works, I resort to bald trickery. My son rarely sits while eating, instead pacing around the dining area while scripting. I wait for him to draw near and then nonchalantly hand him the “little bit” that I cut of earlier. More often than you might imagine he unthinkingly pops the food into his mouth, so engrossed is he in his activity.

My last-ditch gambit is to encourage him to at least sample the flavor. “Taste it with your tongue,” I say, and he will do so if in an especially trusting mood, giving the food the tiniest of licks and then evaluating its palatability.

This morning I fried ham for his breakfast and, as it was new, went through the entire ritual above. “It’s Canadian bacon,” I emphasized several times, but he is unfortunately immune to marketing. He wouldn’t try the little bit, paid no mind when I ate some myself, and returned the piece I handed him to his plate before continuing on his way.

“Just taste it with you tongue,” I finally pleaded, gaving him the sliver of ham. To my surprise he obligingly brought it to his mouth. I was certain of victory, once he realized that it was essentially bacon.

But he did not taste it. Instead, keeping his eyes on me, he surreptitiously licked the ball of his own thumb, and then returned the ham to the plate as if he had tried and rejected it.

I guess I should of been mad at the deception. But I’d never seen that before, and hey: lying is a social skill. Go, theory of mind!

One thought on “Thumb, Sucker

  1. Lying is, indeed, a social skill – one we’re not always thrilled to see arise in our neurotypical offspring, but one they can hardly dispense with. Thanks for the perspective.

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