It’s about that time again. I have everything ready. I look down at Little and silently hope that this time he’ll give it more than one try. I put him in his high chair, and have my three categories; Veggies, protein, carbs. I try not to lurk in the corner as I sneak glances from the kitchen. He picks up the chicken, examines it, takes one bite before he decides, ‘don’t like it!’ Damn it. He pushes his entire plate to the side. I try to look as genuine and non-pressuring as possible, walking toward him with a smile plastered on my face.
‘Yum, yum, this is so good. Have another bite,’ I say.
‘Just like cars need energy, you need energy to play.’
‘Can Elmo have a bite?’
He looks at me, like, sure no problem, mom. Here, Elmo, can have the whole thing. We take turns feeding Elmo.
‘Ok, it’s your turn now!’
Shakes his head, clamps his mouth shut.
I try distracting him. ‘Look, it’s a bird!’ I shove a bite into his mouth. It takes a second before he spits it out, ‘no!’
Moments like these call for a deep breath, and a reminder to myself that if I push too hard, I’ll make it worse.
‘Fine!’ I grab his plate and put it in the kitchen. Little Man happily skips behind me, and says ‘mommy, chips?’
This is where my heart sinks. When did I turn him into a junk food-aholic? We never have chips unless we have guests over.
You may not have chips! You can eat the yummy dinner I made you!’
‘Chiiiiipsssss!’ We’re in full tantrum mode now. But I will not give in.
After a few hugs, and encouraging words, he eventually stops and we move on to something else. But I can’t help feeling defeated as I often do at times like these.
There are so many factors to take into consideration when feeding a toddler, that it can be very overwhelming:
-Chase him down with spoonfuls or be ok with him refusing a meal?
-Sit at the table, or anywhere he wants as long as he’s eating?
-Fix him the few separate meals I know he’ll eat or put the food we’re eating in front of him, knowing he won’t eat it?
-To distract or not to distract?
-How much fruit is too much?
I’m surrounded by so many strong opposing opinions; People, articles studies. Our doctor always says that as long as Little Man’s maintaining a healthy weight, which he is, there’s nothing to worry about. But I feel that there is. I worry about proper nutrition, and I don’t want to rely on multivitamin gummies, so I try an array of different things, and we have good days and not so good days, but I know at one point we’ll get it down to what works best for our little guy.
What do you think mommies/daddies….what works for you?