Mr Picky and the Peas – Epic Battle

Go-Go earned the nickname “Mr Picky” during a now-epic battle over peas.

He wasn’t quite two.  And the battle left no doubt in my mind that he was the strongER willed of my two strong-willed boys.

You read that right – I am the proud momma of TWO strong willed boys.  They are 16 months apart.  And I love them.  I’m a proud surviver of the “two under two” club.


Even now, it’s hard to explain.

true confessions - peas

It was 5pm. It was dinner time.  I had two toddlers.  I was burned out from cooking an endless stream of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, cheesy eggs, and spaghetti.  I couldn’t look at the jar of peanut butter without getting twitchy.

So I served a well rounded dinner.

Meatballs, blueberries, peas, grapes, and brussel sprouts.

I’ll wait while you make a mental picture.

Yep.  All round stuff.

It was a total accident.  In honesty, it was one of those “clean out the fridge” meals and I grabbed a bag of meatballs from the freezer as a last desperate act.

I struggled to keep the food from rolling off the plates as I carried to the table.  That should have been my first clue.

The reactions of my two boys were — strong.

Watty:  Fruit! Fruit!  Yummy!

He ate the blueberries and the grapes.  He stole most of the blueberries and grapes off his brother’s plate when I got up to get the milk.  I had to prompt him to eat the meatballs.  He ate one, and then said he was done.

He licked the brussels sprout but declined to eat it.

He ate one pea.  He said it was OK, but that he was full.

Mr Picky watched his brother test each food.  He ate all of his meatballs and stole the rest off his brother’s plate while I was cleaning up the spilled milk.

Go-Go: Yuck!  I don’t like round food.

Me:  Well, you need to pick one other thing and taste it. There’s one grape, one blueberry, some peas, and some brussels sprouts.

He offered his brother the last grape and blueberry.

He said the brussels sprouts were going to make him “barf”

(where my 2 year old learn that kind of language is beyond me.)

That left the peas.

Go-Go had a prior pea history.

Mr Picky Hated Peas!

But like a fool, I decided it was time to put my foot down.

Me: Go-Go, you are not leaving the kitchen until you eat one bite of the  peas.

Him: NO!

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5:30:  No!

5:35:  I made the airplane move.  I tried to fly a pea into the “hanger.”  The hanger decided to hide under the table.

5:40:  I offered to drown the pea in a tablespoon of ranch dressing (the ambrosia of the toddler set).  The ranch dressing was licked from the spoon everywhere EXCEPT where the pea was.  The pea remained uneaten.

5:45:  I deftly rearranged things so that Watty could watch cartoons but Go-Go could not.  Go-Go proclaims proudly that he no longer likes Dora.

5:50:  I call my husband for backup.

5:55: I gently suggest that Go-Go sniff the pea.  He does.  He runs to the bathroom to make fake barfing noises.

6:00:  The hanger hides under the table again.

6:05: I ask him to hold the pea in his hand.  He falls out of his booster seat in protest.

6:10: I call my mom and ask her to assist.  On speakerphone, she asks Go-Go to eat a pea for her.  He pushes the phone away in protest.

6:15:  NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  I hate round food.  I hate green food.

6:16:  My husband arrives home.  He asks about the yelling.

6:20: Go-Go returns to the table.  He is crying.  Watty is hiding.

Round Two:

6:25:  The hanger is once again hiding under the table.

6:30:  Tears (mine).  I am begging.  I offer a bribe of chocolate pudding.

6:35:  I open the chocolate pudding and waive it under his nose.  NOOOOOOOOO.

6:40:  I eat a bite of the pudding.  The pea remains uneaten.

6:45: Mommy, I hate you.

6:50: Tears (his).  He wants the pudding.

6:55: I.HATE.PEAS.

7:00: Go-Go passes out, exhausted.  He literally falls asleep sitting up.

We put him to bed.  I am exhausted.  I ate the rest of the open pudding thing.

Go-Go woke up the next morning all smiles.

Mommy, did I eat the pea?

me:  No.  You fell asleep, remember.

I won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(you have got to be kidding me.  please!  no!)

It’s 7:30 in the morning.  I haven’t even had my coffee yet.  I’m still exhausted from an epic 2 hour battle over the stupid freaking pea the night before. And now, my parenting mo-jo is in serious jeopardy.  My authority has been challenged by a 2 year old tyrant.

Bring it.

I took Mr Picky and Watty downstairs.  I handed Watty (age 3) a box of cereal and parked him in front of the television.

I parked Go-Go in the booster chair.

I served him a bowl of peas.

I still can’t believe I did this.  But I wasn’t thinking clearly and I couldn’t think of any other options.

7:45:  NOOOOOOO!  No Round! No Green! No Peas!

7:50: No airplane!  No. no. no. no.

7:55: The peas impersonated an airplane.  It was genuinely an accident.

8:00:  I give myself a timeout.   Go-Go is hungry, but defiant.  I send him to watch Dora while I think.

8:30:  I have an idea.  The Dora-thon continues.

9:00: Go-Go resumes his position in the booster seat.  He is hungry. The peas are still there. He is NOT a happy toddler.

Round Three:

9:05 to 10:00: Repeat of last night.  Really, not impressed with myself.

10:05:  I bring out the chocolate pudding.  It’s in a bowl.

10:10:  Go-Go eats the pudding while staring at the peas.

Me:  Go-Go, did you like the pudding?

Him:  Yes!

Me:  I put peas in it.

Him:  I don’t care.


Him: Can I go now?

And with that, he scampered off.

Mr Picky and Peas - not good

It was a hollow victory.

After over FIVE HOURS of stubborn defiance from my Toddler, I resorted to trickery to end the stale mate.

Pick your battles took on a whole new meaning for me that day.

(there are other chapters to the pea story… he STILL hasn’t willingly eaten a pea.)

 So what do you think?  Will he EVER eat peas?  What would you have done?

For five solid hours I tried to make my son eat peas.  He was two.  Epic parenting failure was inevitable, but I refused to give up.  THIS is what happens when you have a strong willed momma with a strong willed child!

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Candice Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing this one!

  2. OMG, I was laughing and crying while reading. I can so relate to this, I had so many fights with Dinosaur over meals.

    Now I just hide veggies and fruits. If I can’t hide them and he refuses to eat I just offer him something else. I know he’ll eat healthy the next meal or day.

    I really hope you can find the answer to his issues babe, I know how frustrating this must be for all of you.
    Karen recently posted..bugetingMy Profile

    • I’ve done my share of hiding veggies. I’m always amazed at what you can cram in a muffin. So I’m not terribly worried about his nutrition.

      It’s more about trying to make sure he establishes healthy eating habits for life.

      Since this battle, I have totally changed tactics. Normally, we can get him to eat enough stuff that it’s not too bad. But yesterday, he just reverted to that stubborn little child who stared at a pea for 5 hours.

      The funny part? I was a picky eater as a kid. My dad can tell you the story of me hiding veggies behind the refrigerator…. three hours after dinner was over for everyone else.

  3. This made me laugh. I think your strong-willed boys may have a strong-willed momma-just an observation! My oldest son who has always been fairly picky has improved quite a bit in the last year and is more willing to try things than before. However, no, I don’t think that child will ever eat peas.
    Jean recently posted..Table of ContentsMy Profile

    • What? You think I might be strong willed too? Whatever would give you that idea? (which I had the sarcasm font installed)

      Honestly, I’m thankful that God equipped me to stand strong in the face of a strong willed child. I don’t know where it comes from, but I just know I can’t back down.

  4. I was feeling sorry for you by the end of round 2!! I love that he said, “I don’t care”!! Love, love the story!!!!
    Roshni recently posted..JadedMy Profile

    • “Pea” has become the punchline to a lot of jokes in our family. Not only did the little stinker survive the incident, he now thinks it’s funny.

      I’ve been asked if I hide peas in spaghetti, muffins, eggs, mashed potatoes, chocolate chip cookies… I always tell the truth.

  5. Oh my gosh Susan I am laugh/crying right now because I have been there, done that – with zucchini! 🙂
    Paula recently posted..My Story: How I Became a SandwichMy Profile

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