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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Transcript of phone conversation from two minutes ago. | Main | Aaiiiiiiigh. »


Thank you, but my son is onto all of your tricks. No, he doesn't eat new and different foods when he's with other children. No, he won't eat special foods for other relatives. No, he would never go for kebobs or dipping sauces or blind-taste tests or wacky food games; no, he won't try just one bite, no no NO. And yes, I'm also scared of Donna.

Fortunately I am hightailing it out of town for a long weekend, and leaving Scott with Henry. My family will forlornly eat mac and cheese every night, while I consume anything that's not mac and cheese. Tomorrow can't come fast enough.

Reader Comments (60)

I know it sounds tough, but I agree with Donna. My stepson is almost 4 now and he used to throw an absolute tantrum not just because he hated everything we made for dinner, but also because we had the audacity to actually put the sorry-excuse-for-food on his plate AND set his plate in front of him. When he realized that his tantrum would only result in us calmly removing him from the table to sit in his room alone, he promptly dropped the dramatics. He still doesn't try all of his food, but he doesn't starve and he doesn't make us all miserable.
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkdstetson
I have to say I'm in the Donna camp as well. Maybe I'm really a curmudgeon but at my house there is one dinner, eat it or go hungry. Whining is unacceptable behaviour as is insulting someone's effort. Unacceptable behaviour is dealt with by sending the offender to their room for the evening. My oldest son, now 12, used to cry, gag, and tell me repeatedly that making him eat x, y or z would make him throw up. They can act like nobody’s business, but they really aren’t suffering…real suffering is hunger with no food to eat "Guess what, eat it or don't , but if you throw up at this table you are going to be hungry and cleaning up puke.". He didn't ever do it, he quit the drama pretty quick and he eats what I cook. He might not like it, but he eats it. That's life. If you are actually cooking little pasta every night you are a slave to ridiculous whim and are setting you both up for a rough next few years. It only gets harder later once you've let your child think, even for a minute, that he is "the boss".
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
Alice v Donna smackdown! I have two tickets, row E, available to the 57th caller who can tell me the meaning of "no advice please."
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMom101
I think you should read him the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. All sorts of stubborn little children getting manipulated into behaving well...

Also, I love mac and cheese and I would eat it every day if it didn't make me all sniffly.
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterhosie
Oh, no, I agree with Donna as well. I do! And by "scared" I mean "turned on." I should have clarified.
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Although I sounded like a hardass in my above post (and yeah, I kind of am), if there's one food that he truly detests just don't force him to eat that ONE food. Reading these posts have given me flashbacks to the dreaded green bean battle from when I was a kid. It became an endless source of misery for my mother and myself for years.

She finally gave up when I was old enough to chop up my own raw carrots and spinach. Yeah, I was a weird kid, I liked spinach salad. Too much time watching old Popeye cartoons, I guess.

But I digress. At this point it seems to no longer be about the food, but about the power and attention. He's doing everything possible to control the situation. A few tantrums in his room and no dinner will quickly make a non-pasta breakfast very appealing.

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPPP
hmmm. it's as if everyone whose blog I read is en route somewhere for the weekend.

you don't suppose...?

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkyran
I suggest keeping a photo log, to see if he starts to turn orange, like mac & cheese. At least that way you can have fun with the whole no-eating thing. Enjoy all those 7-course gourmet (read: non-mac & cheese) meals!
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie
Hey lets exonerate Donna! She may have come across like a bit of a battle axe in her post, but I agree with the sentiment of her post.

Have a great weekend away Alice.
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersnplgal
Ooo how fun -- lots of advice reminding you that you can, in fact, frighten a child into doing anything at all!

I know your weekend away will feel great though.
May 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commentergoodsandwich
I agree with Donna too! I'm not a mother, but I'm pretty sure thats the approach my Mum had to food when I was a kid.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJem
And also, I don't think frightening has anything to do with it...I don't remember ever being terrified because if I didn't eat my dinner, there was no other option...
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJem
Hi Alice,My experience having two boys - each with their own tastes and preferences - is that their eating habits have changed over time. I've never given in and prepared only the foods they like - I cook what I want, and I love trying new dishes. Sometimes I get cheers, sometimes jeers, (even from the hubby!)- but of course we also have their favorites from time to time. Friday has been Pizza Night for years, and we all look forward to it!

Overall, I've found that the boys will eat when they are hungry.
I have a son who doesn't eat either and I just can't bring myself to make meals a battle. I completely agree w/DDM that sensory kids have a much harder time with foods and dealing with both taste and texture. I am not a mom who tolerates bad behavior but for some reason the food thing seems different to me. PS- my son won't eat bread either. What's up with that?
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkaren
oh my word, you are all meeting up in SF aren't you. Wow.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjosie
I'm feeling crafty today and have some time on my hands, so I'm thinking of cross-stitching

"eat it or don't, but if you throw up at this table you are going to be hungry and cleaning up puke"

onto some place mats. I LOVE it!
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNotFace
I don't have children yet but while in nursing school I remember learning how children start off with a heightened sense of taste and that this could contribute to "picky eaters". Most picky eaters tend to want bland things (pasta). I think your son might just be frustrated because the wonderful smells are not matching the flavor he gets from tasting food. And that can be scary, something that isn't what it seems... it's like a trick. And the yuck might just be a form of reminding himself that although it smells or looks good, it won't taste that way to him, so that he wont try it again, and be tricked again.No real advice, as I am in no way qualified to give any,just a thought. I wonder if you've had any luck having him help you prepare a meal? (for him)Anyway, good luck.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjudy33
Forget Donna, that Linda lady is going to be haunting my dreams. Brrr....
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdebl
It's like all the cool kids, or the big sisters, are getting together for prom (SF)and we, the geeky kids/little siblings are home sitting on the bed watching you get ready.

FYI, we will play with your make-up when you're gone.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
i have no pearls of wisdom or words of advice for you because i have been humbled.i once thought i knew everything about feeding my infants and children when i was the mother of 4 children successfully breastfed through their toddler years and who ate healthy, nutritious meals and snacks making excellent choices all by themselves recognizing the importance of making the right food choices....yes, i knew it all back then. those were the good old days.then i welcomed our #5 child who showed me that no matter how hungry and thirsty he was he would eat or drink by mouth because it hurt and was scary with his paralyzed vocal cords. even after years of feeding therapy and tube feedings and finally coming to a place where he no longer needed the tube in his stomach to feed him it is still hard to get him to try certain foods because what we ll take for granted, the act of tearing, chewing and swallowing is still a difficult task for him. this little boy has taught me much and one of the lessons learned is to no longer roll my eyes, cluck my tongue and/or offer unsolicited advice to the mom struggling with a picky eater.enjoy your weekend away because you deserve it...this i know too well.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterlaura
I think Tammy's right. You have yourself a supertaster!

Her comment reminded me of this song, "John Lee, Supertaster," by They Might Be Giants. It's from their kids' album, "NO!" -- one of my favorites!

Intro: When I was 39 years old, I heard a story. I found out that there [are] people walking among us who have superpowers. These people are called Supertasters. To a Supertaster, bitter fruits taste far more bitter, and sweets far more sweet. Then, just a few months ago, I had the chance to meet a real, live Supertaster named John Lee.And this is his true story:

Lyrics:Nothing tastes the same (nothing tastes the same)To a Supertaster (Supertaster)When he tastes a pear (tastes a pear)It's like a hundred pears (it's like a million pears)He's got superpowers (superpowers)He is a Supertaster (Supertaster)Every flavor explodes (explodes and explodes)Explodes and explodesJohn Lee SupertasterTastes more than we doEverything has a flavorSome flavors are too muchCan't shut his mouth (can't shut his mouth)'Cause he's a Supertaster (Supertaster)Though he looks like a man (talks like a man)He is a Supertaster (Supertaster)Can't drink coffee or beer (coffee or beer)'Cause he's a Supertaster (Supertaster)Loves ice cream and pie (ice cream and pie)He is a SupertasterJohn Lee SupertasterTastes more than we knowEverything has a flavorSome flavors must go

They Might Be Giants John Lee Supertaster lyric

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
So maybe my almost 4 yr old Olivia aka CHEESESANDWICH will run off with Henry and they can just eat as much BLAND BORING food they want.

Really, I could sub He for she and Olivia for Henry and cheese sandwich for pasta and your entry would be MY LIFE!

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJentilla
I'm assuming you read the book, "Child of mine," by Satter. It helped me get a good start on how to be consistent with food.The book suggests giving all food at once --not holding back on anything, even dessert.

If they still won't eat much then I know they are not hungry enough to eat. Time to get down. But, I also give a very consistent high protein/carb snack just before bedtime and since doing that I feel better knowing that they will get something in their bellies before bed.

Have a nice weekend.

May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterShawn
Ha, Karen! Thanks for the back-up. And I love those lyrics. I may just have to get that disc.

The great thing about supertasters (at least insofar as I am/was one) is that once I became able to sort out all the messages my tastebuds were sending my brain, I LOVED food. All kinds of food! Exotic food! Weird food! Food is awesome!

Er, anyway. Have a great weekend, Alice. Have yourself a big ol' bowl of mussels in Thai curry sauce. On me.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTammy
At least you're getting away and the hubby can deal with it for a while (did you leave any beer in the fridge for him?).

Not that this will help at all but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. My parents excused me from the table if I wasn't going to eat what they served and/or was going to comment on what was in front of me.

During that time I was sent to my room, no fun or anything and I could come out when they were done eating.

Honestly, I only was sent away about three times total and I learned to eat what was served, though I did comment still :) Then there were the few times I just said 'I'm not eating that, I'll go sit in my room'.
May 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHope

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