I read an article in some parenting magazine a few years ago about the eating habits of toddlers, or lack thereof. Basically, the gist was don’t force feed ’em or cater to their demands. Offer them healthy choices. And if they eat it- they eat it. If the don’t- they don’t.
The logic behind it seems solid enough. Kids aren’t going to let themselves starve when there is perfectly good food sitting on their plate. At some point, they’re going to eat. (Even if it’s not their most favorite thing.) Plus, if they get 3 meals a day and a plethora of snacks in between, missing a meal or two isn’t really going to hurt in the long run.
So, for the most part, this has been the motto of our kitchen. (That, and not being too picky about the use of utensils-you can only get away with slurping spaghetti straight from the plate for so long.) And, you know, the results have always been great. The Danger-man happily packs away the food. (Usually. He is, after all a kid, and kids- by nature- are picky).
Plus, we’re actually able to relax and enjoy meals as the quality family time it should be.
But lately, our laissez faire attitude around meals is getting seriously tested. The Danger-man has up and decided he is truly ‘a picky eater’. Every meal I make is deemed ‘oookey stuff’ and unworthy of a single taste. He’s even decided that he doesn’t like cheese or peanut butter (bad, bad news to a vegetarian). In the past 2 days he’s refused to eat 3 meals. Three. That can’t be good.
And my resolve is crumbling. I’ve resorted to begging him and bribing him to just taste it. I’ve said “Just take 3 bites to see if you like it” so often I’m starting to annoy myself. I’m contemplating making treats just so I can say: “if you don’t eat your dinner you can’t have —insert something extremely unhealthy– later.” (which is, without a doubt, my worst idea yet.)
And yesterday, at lunchtime, I thought he’d finally came back around to his normal eating habits. He actually asked for a cheese sandwich. Then, I left the room for a minute. Only to come back and find him feeding his sister scraps under the table (“but mom, I’m pretending she’s my puppy.” And the Pea was happy to play along. ). Turns out he’d given her all the cheese while he just ate the bread and veganaise.
I guess, for now, I’ll just laugh about it and hope it’s just a phase. (While I try to stick to my guns and not cater to his every demand just to see him eat an actual meal.)