Keep Trying

Little Riley is transitioning to table food.


She’s almost off baby foods completely, and is getting less of her daily nutrition from milk now, more from solid foods. Of course, she has a limited diet. Foods are introduced one at a time, and having only a few teeth yet, she is unable to tackle anything but soft or easily dissolved textures. Some foods she has already rejected, at least for now. She doesn’t think she likes peas. She loves pasta, and cheese, bananas and yogurt. Anything that doesn’t suit her taste is quickly moved off her tray to the floor. Surprising how early little kids learn to spit out what they don’t like.

But sometimes offering a food again gets a different result. Does she forget she already tried something and didn’t like it? Maybe her first round rejection was more a reflection of a bad mood, or she wasn’t really hungry. Who knows what a one year old is thinking when it comes to choice?

Sometimes I surprise myself with the same type of about face. I recently tried oysters again. And this time, for the first time, I liked them. I had locally harvested Coffman Cove oysters, renowned for their delicacy, and showcased on seafood menus. Not sure what made the difference: the variety of oyster, the freshness, or the preparation. These oysters were baked in their shells. The shells were easily opened after baking, and the oyster was delicate and delicious, spritzed with lemon and dipped in melted butter. What have I been missing all these years I thought I didn’t like oysters?! Turns out, I didn’t care for raw oysters. But this new taste has me excited to try them again, which I plan to do this very weekend.

Obviously, not everything we dislike at first will grow into a like. Sometimes I become more convinced, a second or third time around, that my first opinion of a food or experience was correct: never going to work for me, or be a first choice. If I’m starving, there are some foods I could eat. But that doesn’t mean I would select them, short of desperate need. In other cases, exposure equals acceptance. I’ve recognized that in many situations. I’ve had to warm up to some things, but eventually, I’ve moved a place or experience…or even a person…from the “dislike” to “like” column in my log of personal preferences.

Stephanie called me yesterday to say that Riley had eaten peas with her dinner the night before. Good job, Riley! Keep trying, and maybe you’ll find you change your mind about a food you dislike, or something even more important. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve sometimes been quick to judge, to form an opinion, to know how I felt about something, or someone. And then…a different context, or preparation, or even a different mood on my part, and my attitude shifts. Watching Riley experience the early phase of discovery of choice reminds me that I can change my mind, that trying something again can make a difference. And that you can miss out on some good things if you quit trying too quickly.