I was so excited to introduce my son to solid foods when he turned 6 months old. He’d given me all the cues that he was ready to make the next step and it was a milestone that I was looking forward to. Over the first several months of his solids journey, we tried a variety of foods. He wasn’t a picky eater and loved all of it, which was a dream.

Now that he’s approaching two and is slowly forming his own opinion on things, he’s becoming much more picky about the food that I put in front of him. He has his staples that I can never go wrong with, but I’d like for him to branch out and be able to eat whatever we are eating at the table without refusing them.

My older daughters are quite the opposite of him. They are always willing to try new foods and will eat anything without any hesitation. I was hoping that he would take the cue from his sisters’ fun and excitement with trying new foods, but he’s still a little young to understand. After struggling for months and putting new food after new food in front of him that he was still refusing, I thought we were just going to have to deal with having a picky eater in the family.

That was until one day when we were eating dinner and I put a meal in front of him. I’d fixed him a plate of our dinner, but cut it into tiny pieces, the perfect finger food size. As soon as I put the plate in front of him, he tried to push it away. I tried again, he did the same thing. Then he started to point over at his sisters. I explained to him that he had the same food they did. But it wasn’t the food that he was pointing to — it was the utensils.

He wanted to use his independence and his big boy skills to eat just like his big sisters. I went and grabbed him a fork and spoon, Mickey Mouse easy grasp utensils, and handed it over to him. Low and behold he began to take the fork and try to grab little bits of chicken with them. He put them to his mouth and chewed. He then did it again. His willingness to try new foods all lied within a pair of utensils.

Don’t let your picky eater leave you feeling defeated. Never in a million years would I have thought that a simple fork and spoon would help us overcome a stage we’d been stuck in for so long. Keep trying new things and see what works for you. Your little one won’t be eating just chicken nuggets and mac and cheese forever, I promise.