I've always considered us lucky that the only food issue we've had to deal with around here is picky eating habits. Things have improved on that front in the last year or so, but they were so persnickety in their toddler and preschool years that I had to visit a nutritionist with each of them at one point. Still, compared to the nut allergies, dairy/soy/gluten intolerances and violent reaction to poultry and shellfish that some of their friends and classmates have to watch out for every day, a bit of whining that the dinner menu simply isn't to their liking seems like, well, small potatoes. (And by the way, my kids don't like potatoes. Theirs is a strange list of likes and dislikes.)
Now, I'm afraid, we are entering what I hope is a temporary period of a somewhat restricted diet, at least for Daniel. He's had an issue of habitual throat-clearing for several months now, and after a series of appointments at the pediatric ENT clinic this afternoon, which included sticking a tiny camera up his nose and down his throat (wasn't as bad as it sounded, and he got a lollipop for his good behavior), the ENT doc and a speech pathologist concluded that the likely culprit is acid reflux. Obviously, I was relieved that he doesn't have a tumor on his vocal chords or something. Other than throat irritation and the subsequent throat-clearing, Daniel doesn't really have any symptoms that we can tell, and the treatment is fairly simple: for a few weeks, take one Prilosec every day and avoid trigger foods to see if it makes a difference.
Fortunately, the list of foods to avoid includes several things Daniel never has anyway, like fizzy drinks, peppermint, and spicy foods. Unfortunately, it also includes chocolate (because of the caffeine), citrus and tomatoes. Citrus isn't really a problem. Daniel likes oranges but it's not like he can't live without them. But chocolate? It kind of sucks to deny a 6yo kid his cup of hot cocoa when it's only 10 degrees outside. And his birthday is coming up, so I hope he's okay with something other than chocolate cupcakes when we celebrate. Still, either something has chocolate or it doesn't, and it's not that hard to avoid. Tomatoes are definitely the trickiest ingredient on this list of "don'ts". I use tomatoes a lot in soup, with beans and rice (one of Daniel's favorite dinners, though Anya won't touch it - you see what I'm up against here, btw, since they can't even be picky about the same things!), with spaghetti, as pizza sauce...but with the health of my child at stake, I will adapt. I will be creative. I will figure it out.
But for the time being, poor Daniel will have to be one of those kids who walks around with a list of Stuff He Isn't Allowed To Eat. And one of those things is chocolate. Poor guy.