Soup's On! The floor, that is...

I know my kids aren't the only ones. But man do they seem extreme. Do you see those perfectly, lovingly cut and prepared star quesadillas up there in that photo? They ended up on the floor tonight (that would be Maya). Finn's still picking his way around the corn (as few kernels as he was given). And as I type this, Maya is stealing Finn's berries while he's not looking. Maya's pediatrician reassured me today that since she's gaining weight and zipping up in height, I don't have to worry about it. But I still do. Although, I think I worry most about all the wasted food! So many meals go uneaten and ignored, or thrown in handfulls onto the floor, or end up chewed up and spit out. There really is a lot of food rudeness going on over here. Which is something I have a low tolerance for. But that behavior is apparently all quite normal, and I just shouldn't make a big battle out of it. 

I have a copy of The Sneaky Chef, but alas it's in storage somewhere. Last night I found these two cookbooks hiding on my shelves. So I plan to give them a whirl. I started tonight, in fact. (Star-shaped quesadillas: Check, Disaster: Check, Try again: Check.)

What are your tips for picky eaters? I'd love to hear them! 

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Sarah Bradford-Burton said...

I just got Lunch Punches from an Australian company on Amazon. Super cute and Darcy ate the whole sandwich. It was shaped like a fairy.

The set I got came with a frog prince, a castle, a fairy, and a crown I think.

There's some other boyish ones if you want to check them out.

Beth said...

We just got this book as a gift and Tyler is totally into it. There are picture instructions so the kids can follow along and tell you how to make the recipes. I felt like it made my kids more adventurous in trying the new food when they helped me make it.

Pretend Soup.

Besides that, I think you're definitely not alone. I just try to focus on what I know my kids will eat. Cheese, peanut butter (even if it's just on a spoon), spaghetti, fruit. Sometimes they like things I don't think they will, like Audrey finished off my soup at Olive Garden, and Tyler loves steak. I just go for the favorites, and add some extras in here or there - trying not to make it too complicated. Oh, and a good multivitamin ;)

Delightful Domestic Science said...

Dear L,
I really like your blog and I think you're a lovely gentle Mom. I try to be gentle with my littles too. Food though is something that I won't compromise too much on.

If my children won't eat there are consequences like time out and no dessert. I think as parents we need to view discipline (like consequences for meal time upsets)as a loving action. It is our responsibility to take a stand against their tantrums and to shape their little beings. I feel that I would be an irresponsible mother if I didn't teach them to eat a good meal just because I'm too tired/can't handle the crying/don't have the stamina to tackle the food problem.

I have a picky eater too but we have expectations of her that she under stands. She knows that if she doesn't eat she goes to time out for a few minutes at a time till she does eat. If she flat out refuses she goes straight to bed.

In want to be clear that I'm not saying that you don't try but just want to encourage you to remember that YOU are the parent and can out last and out wit your little ones for the greater good.

Unknown said...

Oh they definitely get no dessert and time outs when the don't eat. And while I don't send the 2 year old to bed if she refuses to eat, she does get a long time out in her room, and no other food that night. I think what I was saying is that my Ped. was reassuring me their behavior is normal. But I don't let that be an excuse to let them control the food situation.

Thanks for the comments!

Jamie Lamb said...

Sounds like you're headed in the right direction, Lyndsay! You're doing much better than I was with my first two at that age!

My older two were outrageously picky. So many people said it was a stage, but it only got WORSE. My friend had a daughter who still refused to eat at the age of 10, so I decided to break the bad habits while they were young (3 & 5). It was impossibly hard, but we did it. Here's my advice:

Don't let them snack, unless it's just a little fruit/veggies waaaay before dinner.

It's mostly just fear of the unknown. Give them a bribe for a few weeks. Start with only one bite=skittle, then move to two bites=skittle, etc. Eventually they get over the fear, and you both gain confidence in their ability to eat. I only had to bribe my kids for about a month.

Make a menu plan you can stick to. We started with 2 weeks worth, then moved to 4 later. It gives them a good variety, but keeps them familiar with it still.

Feed them the veggies first, then serve the rest of dinner. And sometimes dips help. Sometimes it helps to cut it up tiny. And sometimes it helps to let them eat alone, without an audience.

Most of all, don't give up!!! You're a great mom, and you can do this! My older kids are 8 & 6 now. They often laugh about how picky they used to be, and even THANK me for teaching them to eat! I am so happy I stuck with it! Good luck!

Delightful Domestic Science said...

Have you got a copy of Jessica Seinfelds book? It's called "Deceptively Delicious" and I think there's also a follow up book.

Hang in there and keep offering them healthy foods :-)

christina said...

I have no tips only empathy for the food rudeness.

Dinnertime is exhausting!