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My child stopped eating food. Completely. She'll drink her juice and her milk, but she won't eat actual food anymore. This morning, for breakfast, Adi had a glass of milk, and ketchup. There were eggs under the ketchup of course, but Adi wasn't interested in the eggs. After she licked the ketchup off of her eggs she demanded more ketchup. She just wanted ketchup.
Adi likes ketchup. That's an understatement. Adi LOVES ketchup. She eats it gleefully by the spoonful. Straight ketchup. Nothing else. She would happily eat ketchup as all three meals every day for the rest of her life.
This can't be healthy.
I suppose I could channel my inner Ronald Reagan, say it's a vegetable, and declare nutritional victory over my toddler -- but really, the ketchup diet isn't exactly recommended by nutritionists.
The thing is, if I take away the ketchup, Adi won't eat anything. I tried it once. I gave her a meal of healthy food, that I knew she liked, but she refused to eat it without ketchup. She will turn up her nose and go on a hunger strike until I release the ketchup prisoners from Fridge-tanamo Bay prison. And I always crack first. I can't starve my child. Maybe I can, but I haven't built up the nerve. A few hours after the hunger strike begins, I give up and bust out some ketchup.
Everyone tells me that this is just a phase, but Adi seems to go through a different phase every couple of months. Adi has gone through a pickle phase, a pineapple phase, a cracker phase, a rice phase, a broccoli phase, a cheese phase, and a mustard phase. Sounds well rounded perhaps, but Adi needs to eat more than one ingredient a week.
I see kids at the playground eating celery and hummus and other healthy snacks. Then I see my kid sucking the life out of a ketchup packet. What am I doing wrong?
I've tried blending broccoli into the ketchup, but Adi noticed and refused it (and declared that she didn't like broccoli). I told her about the starving kids around the world who would be grateful for the food that I made. I've made enough uneaten meals to feed everyone in my apartment building for a month. I tried telling her that the ketchup was lonely in her tummy and that it needed eggs to keep it company. Adi responded by telling me that ketchup was ok and she didn't want eggs. I even offered her ice cream for dinner once. Ice cream. But no, not even ice cream can break her of her fanatical devotion to ketchup.
(I need help.)
You can take a toddler to a well balanced diet, but you can't make it eat. I guess I'll just have to keep trying to get her to eat something -- anything -- besides ketchup and hope that she'll one day eat a vegetable. A real vegetable.
If that doesn't work, I'll just have to start preparing her to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2048. With a love of ketchup and a vocal distaste for broccoli she'll fit right in.
Follow Rachel Figueroa-Levin on Twitter at @Jewyorican.
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