Today has been quite hellish at times. I have cried at least twice, I have certainly ranted and I've lost count of the times that I have said, "Just eat your food!"
The Boy has always been good with his food, even as a baby and feeding from the bottle, he drank beautifully and without fuss. When I started weaning him, he accepted each new taste with pleasure and a great tolerance. Apart from mangoes, and who can really blame him. Second stage weaning saw a baby who was enthusiastic about the home-cooked meals that I prepared and cooked, and he went from strength to strength always eating everything given to him.
About six months ago he decided to exhibit the typical two year old's decision to exert his authority and ability to control a situation. He is well behaved with everything and always does as he is asked, but at that point he decided to show that he can control things himself, and he would become a right pain at mealtimes. I rode it out as he was still so young, and things improved drastically quickly.
Lately I've noticed he's messing around a lot at dinner times and is barely eating. I have never wanted to force him to eat, but I don't find him saying he's finished after three spoonfuls an acceptable amount for a child who's going through a growth spurt. He isn't getting enough nutrients or calories in that small amount to sustain himself throughout the day. An added concern to this is that he's started at a private nursery one morning a week and has lunch there, serving himself and eating with his friends. The feedback is that he's not eating very much, and this week he refused to have a drink of milk and half a banana at snacktime. This is not good because if nothing else will enter his mouth, they are the two staples he would survive on.
Today has seen World War Three and Four in this house at both lunchtime and teatime. He was served exactly the same meal at lunchtime as Mr. TheBoyandMe who sat and ate with him, but it took him well over an hour to eat it, and even then he didn't finish. Lunch was one of his favourite meals: cheesy pasta with ham. There was no reason for him not to eat it, but he couldn't be bothered. He wasn't exerting control of the situation he, just didn't want to eat it. Tea was similar with his other favourite of beans on toast. An hour!
There are those who would tell me that he'll eat when he's ready, but I'm not prepared to accept that. When it has been going on for more than a fortnight, during which time he's developed ear infections and a cold, it's not ok. I can only conclude that he's developed lazy habits at mealtimes and, with his third birthday next month, it has to stop. I'm at the end of my tether and I feel like I'm failing him.
That's why this evening I'm going to be sitting down to read this book that I've been sent:
It's been sat on the kitchen shelf for a month or two now, and I was going to get around to reading it, but now I need to. Because I can not have another day like today. I can not scream like a banshee at my child. I can not sit and sob at my failings as a mother.
With sections on 'why it hurts us so much', 'how much does a child need to eat', 'a child's three defences', 'what not to do at mealtimes' (I suspect digging my heels in is one of them), and 'how not to force a child to eat', I am hoping that 'My Child Won't Eat' is going to change my perception and explain things a little bit more to me. I want him to be happy at mealtimes and healthy because of the food he's eating.
In the meantime, there are certain things that are changing at mealtimes. And it's been with the help of the lovely folk of twitter that I've reached these decisions:
- no pudding unless the main food is eaten (we've always relented in the past because 'he's done quite well', or 'he's just a baby'. No more!)
- no snacks in between meals (there aren't any really but it's something I need to tell my mum who does give him some)
- while breakfast is still in two parts (cereal first, toast or brioche half an hour later), he will no longer have the second part on a plate in the living room while he's playing or watching television. He'll be sat to the table and will eat it there.
Mealtimes mean eating kiddo! Once we've got that re-established, then you can chat!
Any more tips or advice please?
I was sent this book to review, my situation and need is real and frustrating.