Monday, December 22, 2008

The Food Feud

Mia is a good eater. Good in the sense that she has a great track record for trying new things, and she will eat a wide variety of foods. She's good with veggies of all kinds, and loves meat. But it's become very difficult the past few months to get her to eat. Nearly everything I put in front of her is met with, "I don't like this, mama!" I figure this is normal behavior for a three year old. What's not normal, as far as I'm concerned, is Justin's and my response to it.

See, she's never been too adept at actually feeding herself. So for a few years now, we've been putting bites in her mouth. A nasty habit, really - one we've tried to undo innumerable times. However, I've always figured that she needed the nutrition more than she needed to learn how to eat.

Here's why it's changed now: SHE KNOWS HOW TO EAT. BUT. JUST. WON'T.

It's made mealtimes anything but enjoyable. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner is accentuated with a running list of directives from Justin or I. "Scoop a bite." "Put it in your mouth." "Chew, Mia." "Stop singing and chew." "Scoop another bite." "Put the bread down and scoop. a. bite." And if that weren't annoying enough, I raise my voice (dare I admit...yell?) more at the dinner table than any other time.

It makes me crazy. Crazy, like, I'd rather dance barefoot in the snow, than sit through any more of these mealtimes. Something has got to change.

So yesterday, we threw in the towel. From now on, her food goes in front of her, and we eat in peace, whether or not she eats a darn thing. She will get no snacks after lunch until she's finished enough to constitute a meal. She will stay at the dinner table until her food is finished, or bedtime, whichever comes first. She may get hungry. (Therefore, eat?) She'll cry for sure.

But our status quo is ridiculous. I feel bad for her, just dropping our fork-to-mouth help. Where help equals force.

Tonight she maybe had 6 bites of dinner, plus some crackers and juice. And sobbed when she didn't get to play before bath time.

Wish us luck. Or, better yet, leave me a comment with some helpful suggestions. I'm all ears.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, good luck. I hate to admit that was me as a child and well truth be told, kind of sort of still is he he. I remember several nights sitting at the table all alone until bedtime, never giving in, mind you. We are sort of struggling with the same thing right now and with a toddler that is perfectly normal...right? Except that she is really low on the weight charts and I'm tempted to feed her the only thing she'll eat, chicken and apples out of a jar.... I am currently reading 'Child of Mine' (I can't remember the author right now) but her belief is: basically it is our job to present the food and the child's job to decide how much and if they'll eat it, so keep on keeping on, you're doing great!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?