The Challenge of Mealtime

Sometimes I find myself jealous of parents whose kids eat whatever they put in front of them; or, in general, parents whose kids eat.  Mealtime in our home is a challenge, to say the least.

C has always been very picky.  He has always been more interested in playing than in eating.  Now that he’s a toddler and can run, throw, writhe and yell…

*sigh*

Eating seems like such an inconvenience to him.  He’ll only sit in his booster seat for a short amount of time.  He eats better on the run, but it’s so frustrating chasing him around with a plate of food.  I feel like I spend the better part of the day with a plate or bowl in hand, running after a 2-foot-tall person who has so many other things to do but pay attention to me as I try to shove food at him.

Some nights when I put him in the bathtub, I stress out over the fact that his ribs stick out.  I try to remind myself that he was in the 6th percentile of weight at his 15-month appointment last month.  He had been in the 5th percentile for about six months prior to that, so that 6th percentile news was quite exciting for me.  He’s small, but he’s growing.  It’s just so hard not to stress about it.

I see other children his age who have at least 5 pounds on him.  I see other children his age who love to eat, or simply do so without running the other way.  If he was in a higher weight percentile and ran away at mealtime, I would be less concerned.

I wish it was easier.  I wish I didn’t have to worry about it.

Comments

  1. You know I 100% know what you are going through and how you are feeling. It is incredibly frustrating to look around you and see all the other toddlers gnawing on their fruits/veggies and mac and cheese while yours pushes them off their tray. As a parent it’s heartbreaking and hits you in the gut time and time again. The one thing to keep in mind is to focus on C and what he will eat. Comparisons won’t only help you they will cause anger, fear, and sadness. Instead, help him play with his food and explore it without the expectation that he has to eat it. I know that sounds like an oximoron, but some kids need a little more exploration with their food to help them learn about it (developmentally) before they are willing to put it anywhere near their mouths. Another little tidbit I learned is that kids need to be presented with a new food at least 10 times each before they will even think about trying it.

    So, here’s my thought. The next time you give C something new to try…sit down at the table next to him and start playing with the food. Roll the string cheese around in your ketchup pretending they’re race cars, sing silly songs about his food, pretend you have a mustache with your spinach. I’m sure you get the picture. They key is not to get upset if he doesn’t eat it. Play is such an important part of learning about food. Touching, smelling, feeling, squishing….see if that helps him get more interested in food.

    If you ever need to vent or have any questions, let me know. I feel you on this one. If only our kiddos saw food as delectable and delicious as their parents. We certainly wouldn’t be having this discussion ;)

    • Thank you so, so much for your comment Jess. I tried to relax more tonight at dinner. I gave him mandarin oranges for the first time, and we squished them a bit, broke them apart,etc. He spit them out a few times and made silly faces, but he also ate a few and giggled.

      I think I’d be a little more relaxed about the food throwing if we had tile under the dining table instead of carpet! lol ;)

      Is this a constant lesson in parental patience?! *sigh*

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