We were having lunch with some friends last weekend and I was watching the girls. We were in a fish restaurant and I sat watching their reactions as to what was presented in front of them. We shared a platter between us all. There were various sea creatures, one of which was an oyster! I dared Tilly to try it and she did, ok she was reluctant but I was really impressed she ate some. She thought it looked horrific but was still willing to try it. Florence was having none of it and just kept making 'eurgh' sounds. I think the final straw for Florence was a mussel which she exclaimed smelt like 'poo poo'.
This is a pretty good reflection of my girls. Tilly is really adventurous and will try anything, in fact she will eat and enjoy almost anything. Florence is a little less adventurous. She eats most things but she takes a lot more persuasion, dare I say it, bribery yet we haven't raised them any differently. Earlier this year we were in Morocco, Tilly tried most things and loved tucking into the tagines, some of which were quite spicy. Florence stuck to a more simple menu and mainly concentrated on the bread basket!
I've actually heard people commenting that a child is 'fussy' because the parents 'haven't tried hard enough'. I think that's pretty unfair because each child is different. I honestly haven't done anything differently in the way I feed my children, they just have different personalities and dislikes.
My biggest lesson has been never to lie to them when trying to get them to taste new foods. I learnt this the hard way. When Tilly was nearly 3 she asked me if the olive she was about to try was spicy. Knowing it was only marginally spicy I said "no darling, it will be fine". Of course she tried it, it was spicy and then for another 6 months she didn't trust anything I said! Bad mummy! Now I just tell her the truth and actually she's more likely to try it! I've employed my father's motto which I was raised on to "try everything once".
With Florence we find good old tactics work a treat. If we say "well if you won't eat it, Daddy will", somehow whilst the fork is flying through the air towards Daddy's mouth, Florence will always take it off course and eat it herself whilst proclaiming 'hahahaha daddy, you t'ant have it'! It lightens the situation and means she eats her meal. Some may think this is playing with food but in my book, if it works and they're eating nicely, that's good enough for me!