A Smiling Face Is Half the Meal*
* A Latvian Proverb
Featured blogger Kaylee Page shares her perspective on life with FPIES in an ongoing series
Carrots and Peaches
Peaches and Carrots
However you order it, it still lacks…variety. THIS is the life of FPIES. Right?
And this was our story, for sure. Bella was two years old. And Bella had five safe foods.
I’m not sure what was worse—watching Bella eat her sixth serving of jarred sweet potatoes for the day (thank you, Gerber!) or the guilt I felt watching it all unfold. We had been specifically told to hold off on introducing new foods for a while, but somehow I felt responsible for the mundane meal plan.
Like a broken record, the voice in my head taunted me: Just learn to cook! Bake it this time. Kaylee, find more recipes. Do something! Or at the very least, spend a pretty penny on a qualified chef capable of making fun and different foods for your child. That’s the LEAST you could do!
Over time, I learned a few ways to help quiet those voices and gain control over what was mine to control:
Play with Textures
Smush it. Ice it. Cut it. Or serve it whole! A single food can be experienced in many-a-different ways. Cube or mash those potatoes. Slice or arrange that banana into ways never imagined. FPIES parents are pioneers; I bet no one has done with food what we have created and imagined while serving another same old, same old meals to our little ones.
Run with It (When You Can)
FPIES has taught me that the kitchen is not as scary a place as I once thought! (Just don’t ask me to fry any chicken in the near future When that happens, I run real fast and real hard with it—and then stash it in the freezer for days when I’d rather watch Grey’s Anatomy!– just don’t, I am still recovering!) But ask me to attempt a rice flour pancake! Ask me to make a muffin without egg or dairy! I learned how to do it because of FPIES. Certain days bring a gust of creativity and energy to make new experiences of food for Bella.
Embrace the Mundane
One of the harshest realities of FPIES is that some kids struggle to grow. For the parents facing this challenge, I applaud your strength, care and the battles you face daily. As a parent with limited foods to offer your child, remember this and remember it well: just do your best to keep them growing!
The biggest battle you face is not ensuring your child has endless options and variety. The battle you face is growth and whatever possible nourishment you can bring to your child. Let that be enough for your plate! And if you have a rhythm, a daily plan of the same meal over and over, let that be enough.
…After all, a smiling face is half the meal. Bring that to the table! Your child will remember that much more than the hundredth, thousandth, MILLIONTH eaten strawberry.