I no longer have to load his plate to overflowing with food, most of which I knew he wasn't going to like and therefore wasn't going to eat. When he first came, he insisted on "tilick food" (big food) every time I fed him. If I only put a small amount on his plate for him to try, he would cry; insist on "tilick, tilick"; get angry; insist "NO TINNISH!" (no little); swing at the table, at me, at his plate. Now, he understands when I say, "try it and see if you like it. You can have more if you like it." He has even stopped checking, "tinnish, more?" when I do that - meaning, 'I will try just a little but I can have more, right?'. I can now bargain with him over the foods that I know he likes to get him to try new things - ie. if you eat one bite of broccoli, you can have more baked beans.
Here are some of his favorites:
- chicken nuggets & fries from Chick-fil-A (but ONLY from Chick-fil-A! He "no like different chicken" - aka chicken nuggets from any other fast food restaurant) :-)
- waffles (breakfast EVERY morning)
- dabbo (bread - but only the whole grain wheat bread or cinnamon bread)
- sega (meat - plain, cut up hamburgers)
- shy (hot tea - which he drinks every morning also)
- apple juice (thank goodness that we have been able to transition him to apple juice from the super thick mango juice and papaya juice that he drank when we first came home)
- Ethiopian food (I have almost used up that which I froze before we left so I guess it's time to make some more or to go back to the ET restaurant!)
- corn chips with spicy salsa (I have resorted to counting this as a vegetable. If the schools can count ketchup as a vegetable, then I can count salsa! I actually buy the all natural, organic salsa which contains nothing more than tomatoes, onions, peppers, vinegar, and spices so I think it's justified!)
- chicken with rice
- baked beans
- all things vegetable! (seriously, I haven't found a vegetable yet that he will eat - aside from the previously mentioned 'salsa vegetable')
- most things potato (potato chips even repulse him, but he will eat fries)
- all dairy (he won't eat cheese, won't drink milk, doesn't like yogurt)
- onions and garlic (with a passion!! He smells almost everything before he eats it and I am not kidding, if it has garlic or onion, he almost always wrinkles up his nose, makes his yuck face, and refuses to try it. Only exception thus far - the salsa vegetable!)
- most new things or things that look different
But, here's the interesting thing that I have picked up on over the past few weeks. Markos gets very concerned if I don't eat when he eats. I noticed it a while ago, but didn't really put it together until recently. If I give him lunch, and I'm not hungry but sit with him at the table, he will keep insisting, "Emama eat". Even if he's eating his very favorite food and is hungry, he will try to give me some of his food. "Emama eat!". A week ago, I got out a bag of Twizzlers and there were only 3 left. I had already eaten one before he came over, so I gave him the 2 that were left. He was totally excited and happy to get the two, until he saw that there were none left. Then, with a sad face, he gave me one of his, insisting, "Emama eat". I told him it was ok, that he could have it, but he kept insisting, "Emama eat". I told him I already ate one, that it was ok, but he was still insisting, "Emama eat".
I can see the fear and the hurt in his beautiful eyes when he says it - "Emama eat". He knows hunger. He's lived it. He's had one Emama give her food for him and his brothers and sisters to eat. He lost her. He doesn't want to lose another Emama, so he'll give his food now. Oh my poor sweet boy, this Emama's not going to starve. Trust me. I could stand to skip a few meals, but I'll be sure to do it when you won't notice so you won't worry about me. I'm always happy to eat some chips and salsa with you!! After all, it IS a vegetable, so it's healthy, right?!