February 14, 2006

He ate a pea

He. Ate. One. Pea. That was Cael's dinner last nite. I set out potatoes and peas with butter and not one bit of it touched his lips unless we held him down and shoved it in his mouth. Which he hated. I sat down in front of him and said "Cael, this is your dinner. If you don't want to eat it, fine. But its all you're getting. No booty-booty (a.k.a. veggie booty), no yogurt, no blueberries, and certainly no cookies. We've had enough of you not eating normal food. If you eat even a little of what is in front of you, we'll be so happy and proud of you that we'll give you something else to eat." To which he picked up his fork, stuck one measly pea on a tine and ate it, glaring holes through me all the while. Then promptly asked for raisins. Frig...he's not dumb. So I said that was good that he tried the peas but wished he'd eat more. Then I caved and gave him some ground beef, which he loves. He gobbled it while singing "meeeeat, MEEEat, mee-eee-eeea-t...". I don't think he learned the lesson. But when he asked for an apple and some yogurt, I gave it to him. Just stamp "SUCKER" on my forehead.

So what can we do?? I'm so tired of having to either make him a special meal (which usually consists of a grilled cheese) or him sitting in his chair making high pitched screeching noises that grate on my nerves until we give him what he wants. And it isn't junk he wants...he loves yogurt and fruit. Which is GREAT, but I really wish he'd eat what we eat. I don't know where I went wrong. Everyone tells me that its a phase and he'll grow out of it, but I can't see it. Most of my friends with kids Cael's age don't have the issues we have...their kids will willingly at least least try what they're served. IMO if we continue to baby Cael with his eating habits, he'll always be like that. So over the weekend we decided that it was time for tough love. We offer something and if he eats it, great. If not, then he goes hungry 'til the next meal. No snacking, except for maybe some water to drink and MAYBE a few raisins or something. Too harsh? Gail thot maybe if we offer the main meal and if he doesn't eat it, then no treats. But yogurt or fruit is ok since its healthy. But to him, yogurt and fruit IS a treat. He isn't a big fan of cookies or sugary things. So what to we threaten to not give him? I don't want to take away his healthy foods.

We have found that if we open his mouth and shove something in, he'll scream, cry and sob as if we're killing him, but he'll often eat more of what we made him eat. He just isn't willing to try anything on his own that looks different from what he's eaten before. And he doesn't like sauces, so putting ketchup on everything won't work. I've tried. He loves ground beef, but won't touch it if I give him some with pasta sauce and noodles. 'Cuz there's sauce on it. Last Friday, Gail was able to get him to eat a bowl of pea soup. Great!! He was really mad at her at first 'cuz she pried his mouth open to shove the first couple of spoonfuls in, but eventually he ate it. So I go out on Saturday and buy some cans of pea soup and some dry peas so I could make my own and maybe freeze it. He threw an absolute fit when we served it to him on Sunday for lunch. Even tho he ate it on Friday. I honestly escaped to the bathroom for a minute and cried.

Any other suggestions? I'm at the end of my rope and feel so tense after every meal that has passed where he hasn't eaten anything. He's a small kid...24 lbs at his 2 year weigh-in. He doesn't have extra to go on and I certainly don't want to purposely starve him. Every meal is a fight. To the point that he actually starts to whine as soon as his arse hits the chair. I know its prolly because we try to force him. But I don't know what else to do. I distinctly remember my mom doing the same thing when I was a kid. She told me I could sit at the table all nite if I wanted to, but I had to eat some of what was on my plate. I can't count how many times I sat at the table for a good 2 hours or more before I finally ate something. And now I'll eat anything...I love food. My brother on the other hand was spoiled...my mom would make special meals for him. And now at age 23 (24 next month), he won't eat most foods. It was always a big production when we went to restaurants 'cuz he wouldn't eat anything on the menu. He'd always ask if they could make him a grilled cheese. Do you see the trend I'm falling into?

Help. What do you do to feed a fussy kid? :(


Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

Aww, hon. I wish I knew. It sounds like no fun, though. :(

14/2/06 19:10  
Blogger ccw said...

Baby H has always been weird about eating. Often she will eat and eat and other times she barely eats.

We have given up on trying to force the issue. I put a plate in front of her and she either eats or she doesn't. No fighting, no fussing. It's easier this way and she will eat if she is truly hungry, so I quit fretting. Dinner is pleasant again.

She was just at 22 lbs at her 2 year check-up. The doctor assured me that she is not going to starve.

15/2/06 09:34  
Blogger Tanya said...

ccw, i try so hard not to force and worry. my outlook on the whole thing changes from day to day. yesterday, i was determined he at least try a meatball at dinner. today, i feel like i could care less. it wouldn't be so bad if he'd just sit there and not eat. whatever...he's not hungry. but he'll sit there and screech and drop his food and play with his milk, complaining he wants something else to eat. so he's definitely hungry. he's just too stubborn to eat. blah...

the mil says to hide the food he doesn't like in food he does like and spoon feed him ourselves. which he won't let us do. and guaranteed he'd know. but this is also coming from a woman who fed both jon and his sister by spoon 'til they were past 3. and would be upset if they didn't eat an ADULT sized plate of food at every meal. and jon wonders why he can't help his over-eating. i so don't want to get my kids into that rut.

15/2/06 10:21  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

I am so sorry. Sometimes I make more than one meal, but usually I just withhold dessert or some other thing they want like TV or whatever until they eat.

My rule is try everything. And, if sometimes they have to go to bed hungry, then that is their choice.

But usually my girls out-eat me, so I don't have a lot of suggestions.

I'm so sorry!

15/2/06 10:56  
Blogger Tanya said...

r2k, you are so lucky. lol! i'll actually be glad when he's older and (hopefully) more willing to at least try things. he doesn't really understand now why we're doing this.

onward! :D

15/2/06 11:54  
Anonymous Amy said...

Wow, I really don't know what to suggest... I think that you're headed in the right direction though. Quality over quantity!!Connor usually refuses to eat supper, but eats well at breakfast or lunch and has 2 healthy snacks. We decided that maybe that's just how he works, so we focus on meeting his nutritional needs earlier in the day. If he eats supper, great, if not, he goes without. We try not to force the issue too much, and knowing that he's had at least one good healthy meal helps. Some things that have helped us: Expect him to only eat one decent meal a day, and probably pick at the rest. Offering healthy snacks at scheduled times can help ensure good nutrition. Sitting and eating your meal with him can be more effective, making it more of a pleasant social experience rather than a potential power struggle. You decide WHAT is offered, he decides HOW MUCH to eat. (I really think it's important to respect how much he chooses to eat. He will learn to listen to his body's signals, and stop eating when he is full rather than eating until it's gone. How many of us have come from the "Don't leave the table until your plate is empty" sort of homes, only to have food issues-overeating or being overwieght- later in life?)
Most of all,try not to worry too much about it... he's not gonna starve, he'll eat when he's hungry! You're doing a great job with him!!

15/2/06 12:45  
Anonymous Donna said...

At first I thought you were describing supper at my house! ;-) Same scene: Started to whine "All done." and reach for me before his butt even hit the seat. It got REALLY bad, to the point that I dreaded suppertime every day. I would actually feel stress before we sat down. He wouldn't eat and then I would end up following him around the house later trying to get him to eat a pb&j while he was distracted by toys. UNTIL...one night I had had enough. I KNEW he liked the food that night so I let him cry and left him buckled in his seat, alone in the kitchen with DH. DH ignored the screams and continued to eat, pausing every now and then to talk to DS about something other than the food. He screamed and sobbed for me for 10 minutes and then silence. I peeked around the corner and he was happily shovelling the food in and babbling to DH. GRRR!I think he did it to get extra mommy-attention b/c he seemed to get that it really bothered me. I still have to do it occasionally but most nights now he'll sit in his seat, next to DH, and eat most of the meal. I hear you tho about getting the extra meal. Even if it's only grilled cheese, it's still something extra. You may have to be tough for a couple of nights and then again he may always be a light eater. DD was the same way between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 yrs. I remember wondering how she could live on tomato and cucumber alone. Now she's 5 1/2 and will even ask for 2nds some nights! I guess you either have to get tough or just let it go and wait for him to "grow out of it". Or look on the bright side: he does seem to like healthy food in general so it's not like he only wants cookies. Soon Iain will be old enough to eat more solids. Then you can just skip the cooking, make 4 grilled cheeses and be done with it! ;-)

15/2/06 14:13  

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