By the time he was 2 years old, he had a list of foods he would eat and would not eat anything else no matter what your did or withheld from him.
~ mini Aunt Jemima frozen pancakes
~ chicken nuggets - it was a long struggle to get him to eat them in the form of "fingers" too
~ hot dogs, no bun
~ pizza - italian style - fresh
~ french fries
~ soft pretzels
~ soft pretzels
~ egg noddles - medium width - no other form of pasta, no mac & cheese, etc.
~ Knorr Rice & Sauce - chicken flavor only
That's literally all he would eat. He did love fruit though ... apples, bananas, grapes, watermelon, and strawberries. And yogurt. He ate a lot of yogurt.
He's going to be 11 years old in a few weeks and this is still his diet, minus the PB&J. He will not eat it anymore. I can get an occasional peanut butter-only sandwich into him but that's it.
You cannot convince him to eat homemade pancakes. I watched him almost vomit while trying mashed potatoes. Different shaped pasta is not pasta to him. If you go to a party and there is nothing he will eat, he just won't eat. If you say "try this or no dessert or no tv," he will go without. I swear he has a fear of food. When I hear people say, "My kid is picky," I just laugh to myself because they have no idea ... we have tried everything known to man to get this kid to eat normally. He. will. not. eat.
A few years ago I gave up. It wasn't worth the stress on our family or on him to keep pestering him to try new foods. I always ask and encourage him to try whatever I may be serving, but mostly, he won't try anything.
He was proud of himself about two years ago when he tried popcorn and liked it. Popcorn, people. Who doesn't like popcorn?
I have had some recent success with getting him to eat steak. A major, major break through in my book. Right before Thanksgiving we went to Outback for dinner and when I went to confirm that he wanted to order chicken fingers, he said, "Can I get the kid's steak meal?" Three pairs of eyes did a complete double-take and we could not believe what we were hearing! Of course you can order steak! I literally had tears while sitting at the table that night.
He ate his entire plate, with french fries of course, but I didn't care. My baby ate steak! We jokingly told him we'd eat there once a week if he was going to start eating steak on a regular basis.
When my second son came along, I was petrified he was going to have the same issues with eating. But thankfully, that wasn't the case. And it wasn't until he came along that I realized *I* didn't do anything wrong. I did all the same things I did with Son #1 as a baby and toddler but the outcome was so very different. Son #2 will eat (mostly) anything!
I've read many articles on adult picky eating disorders and so many of those stories describe my son's tendencies. I still hope and pray he will outgrow this because I worry that it may begin to effect him socially as he gets older. He's very aware of his "eating issues" and has spent many nights in tears trying to explain to me what it's like for him when he sees food.
I tell him all the time that food is not his enemy. There is good food and there is bad food. And it's okay not to like something ... but you won't know if it's good or not unless you try it. My wish, my prayer, is that one day he will believe it.