All Eyes On Me

One dinnertime when I was 6 years old, I agreed to try a baby carrot. Looking back, I'm surprised I agreed to it because I was very against trying any fruits or veggies. But that night, something in me agreed. And the moment I did, my parents were shocked. Thrilled! They stopped everything and got out the camera to document this momentous occasion. While I was smiling big for the camera with the carrot close to my face, a million thoughts rushed through my head... What if I don't like it? What if I throw up? What if I do like it? What if I love it and feel stupid for not trying it all this time? ... And as soon as the camera flashed, I had made my decision. That carrot was not going in my mouth. There was too much attention on me now. And that attention meant pressure. All eyes were on me and not in a good way.

A lot of kids love being in the spotlight. I certainly did. I wanted everyone watching anytime I was doing a cartwheel or jumping into the pool. But not when I was trying a new food. Every time someone cheered or commented on me trying a new food, I felt pressure. It's what built up a wall for me not wanting to try new foods. Be aware of the attention kids are getting when it comes to trying new food. Even if you have to pretend you're not looking, do what it takes for your child to feel room to explore on their own. But when it comes to cannonballs into the pool, make sure you're all eyes.

A short clip of me telling this story at a recent talk for parents of picky eaters in Needham, MA.