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"I Don't Like It"...A License To Be Lazy?

What they say about toddlers are true: they can love a food one day and shun it the next.

Once upon a time, my daughter Lauren ate whatever I put in front of her.  I made most of her baby food myself, and thanks to some good cookbooks, I had some pretty delicious concoctions for her.  

Things have changed.  Did I mention she's two years old now? 
 
I find myself telling myself, "she's two" a few times a day whenever sticky situations arrive. 
 
Yesterday, she asked to eat some cucumbers that my husband and I put in our salads.  She's tried cukes before but rejected them.  She ate the entire cucumber slice and then declared, "I don't like it."  Then she ate some more cucumbers.  Mixed signals, anyone?
 
I'm getting a lot of the "I don't like it" declarations at the table lately from Lauren.  It's usually followed up quickly by "want somethin' else."  Nothing a mommy wants to hear less after trying to put together a perfectly-balanced meal and have it rejected.
 
I made some awesome quesadillas for her this weekend--chicken, cheese, spinach and cilantro on a whole wheat tortilla.  It was good, and she ate it up.  When I offered her the leftover the next day, she claimed not to like it.  Sigh.
 
One of my favorite pieces of advice for picky eaters is when the kid refuses the meal you've prepared, you immediately default to a "no frills" meal that takes less than a minute to prepare.  At our house, that meal is Cheerios.  I know I need to find something a little more balanced for Lauren's food mood swings, but that's what we've got right now.  
 
So, I know that you have to present a food to a child several times before they may actually try it or like it.  I have to be honest, though.  The regular rejection of what I prepare kind of kills my ambition to find new foods she likes.  This is brutal mommy honesty here: I'd rather be hanging out with Lauren than spending time cooking for her if she's just going to request "somethin' else" end up with Cheerios.  I feel like the food rejection is starting to give me a license to be lazy in the kitchen for her, which is not good.  So, what to do?  Should I push forward and keep trying foods I think she will like, or should I just get through this picky eater phase and not sweat it?
 
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