Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Am Not A Short Order Chef

Ok, so I know before I was all like, "My daughter is the best eater in the world and she eats broccoli for breakfast..." Blah blah blah.

Ok, so now, on occasion, she may or may not eat her broccoli for breakfast. In fact, she may not eat anything. She may only want pancakes. Or a Clif bar. Sometimes she's all about bananas, but then the next day she won't touch one with a 10 foot pole. Earlier this week she couldn't get enough blueberries. Oh. My. Gosh. The horror when we ran out of blueberries. Today? I offered her blueberries and she violently shook her head and repeated NO NO NO. It was as if the blueberries might poison her if she ate one. She used to LOVE yogurt. Now she screams in protest if she sees me simply pull it out of the fridge.

The interesting thing to me is that there is so little consistency or rationale for what she will or will not eat from day to day. I understand that toddlers go through growth spurts so sometimes they eat a ton and sometimes they hardly eat anything at all. (Moana has put me through the test on this one, sometimes going for several days in a row eating nothing but a handful of raisons and a sip of soy milk. Yes. she has been protesting the cows milk lately and only drinks soy milk now.)

So besides the fact that I never have any clue how much she will eat, I also have no idea what she will actually eat. Today she was all about kidney beans. Couldn't get enough kidney beans. But that doesn't mean for a second that she would actually eat a kidney bean tomorrow.

Fickle. That's what my perfect little eater has become. And it drives me NUTSO.

Part of me says, "Do not become a short order chef!" I feel like I need to hold my ground here or else I'm going to go crazy offering her a thousand choices of food until we find one that is acceptable on any given day. Typically I give her two choices and if she turns them both down, well then, tough. She must not be hungry so I guess we just won't eat right now. But then the problem is that if she actually was hungry, she turns into this completely whiny grump and will not stop whining for a second. So I offer her the food again, which she will not eat, but then continues to whine. This pattern will continue for like an hour until she's finally hungry enough to eat whatever it was that I was offering her.

One thing I have found out is that if I take her out to lunch, she'll eat like a champ. Sometimes I go shopping at a local health food store that has a hot food bar, so we get food and eat it outside after we're done shopping. She sits in the cart while I feed her. She'll eat anything (and a lot of it!) when we do this.

And then eventually she's like, "Ok mom, I'm done eating now."

Another thing I've found out is that if she's with her buddy Nico, and he's eating, she'll eat too. (Though clearly it's not hard to get a toddler to eat a popsicle.) This morning they raced to see who could finish the popsicle first. Nico won.

I'm really hoping that the fickle-whiny-eater thing is just a short phase and that eventually I get my good eater back. I'm trying not to make a big deal about it when she won't eat- because I know she is figuring out that this is her power. In the end, I know that when she is hungry she will eat, so I try to live by that, but the whining I must endure until she gives in and finally eats is just really driving me to the brink of insanity.

23 comments:

DR said...

You know, I was quite envious and guilty when you wrote about the blog where your daughter eats mush for breakfast...mine stopped eating any mush (still refuses) around 9 months.

The whole toddler picky eating...everything you described I live through. The only vegetable she will eat now is steamed spinach. And I've noticed with foods like avocado, one day she loves it, the next day she looks at me like I am trying to poison her. And when other people are around she makes she spits it out and makes these dramatic choking noise.

Recently (after having been on antibiotics for a urinary tract infection) she stopped eating completelty and thought it was because some new teeth were coming in (she always seems less hungry then). But one day she was playing and I noticed thrush all over her tongue. I started the medication and it took like another 5 days of not eating and then the flood gates opened and she literally ate more than me. And now she is back to being a picky eater. I just keep telling myself she will not starve.

I have no solution or advice. Your blog about the food relationship is so true though -- having a positive relationship with food is not worth the food battles. I just keep offering different foods at mealtimes, even the ones she doesn't like. And I pack snacks. And quite often I pack lunch on the go, and we will eat at the park or museum or zoo...although I have to say that has it drawbacks too as I was cleaning the stroller today and it was disgusting! And she loves to eat when she sees other kids eating...she goes to daycare one day and eats everything they offer....what can I say...

Hang in there...my daughter at almost 20 months is just starting on the tanties...it takes your mind off the picky eating at least.
Sigh!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Oh man - this is another part of having kids that I didn't realize...I'll tuck this one waaaay in the back of my head for future reference :) Good luck - I wish I could offer suggestions or advice - but she'll come around in the end.

LOVE the pic of her and Nico - they are so cute together! :)

Rebecca DeWire said...

This sounds so familiar! I don't think there is a whole to do about it, but just go with the flow. Sometimes I am embarrassed by what Elena eats (like poptarts)and other days I am proud about the amount of vegetables she consumes. I imagine that it all balances out.

The Chapples said...

Welcome to my world, Michelle!! Remember a few weeks back I posted on this topic?? Yes, it's typical of toddlers so you just go with it, as maddening as it is.

I've noticed with my nieces, who are 4 and 7 now, that they've gone through picky stages (just eating five foods for months and months), but now are both good eaters. I think consistency is the key. Go back and read your response to my food dilemma post and you'll find some good advice from yourself! :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Broccoli for breakfast!!!!!! Ewwwwww!!!!

I remember my mom said I was a picky eater at first but she said she made what she wanted me to eat and just put it in front of me, she said eventually after I was tired of throwing a fit, I would eat it.

Kathy said...

Ben is just like this. Who knows why but it seems to be almost universal. I offer a couple of things at b'fast and lunch too and if he doesn't eat them I just let him go and assume he'll climb into his high chair if he gets hungry.

At dinner I give him more options if he is being fussy and hasn't eaten well all day. I figure having him up in the middle of the night hungry isn't going to make any of us happy...

Good luck!

jessica said...

Phase or not, she's still a great eater as long as you believe she is! Just get creative – but stick to your food values – and hang in there :)

Running and living said...

My son did the same.
In a way, this makes sense to me. So if she eats blueberries one day, why she should eat them the next day too? Her body got the nutrients it needed and it is all set for those for a while. Her body needs something else. I think kids are so smart about their eating, at least when they are very young, and I think going with the flow is the best thing. Then they enter preschool and they come home with "Broccoli is disgusting, I hate vegetables", but that is another story!

Staci Dombroski said...

I totally understand what you are saying! My son now says that he is allergic to vegetables and will scour his food to make sure there are none in sight. My daughter is still an amazing eater. However, I will not change the menu and I put everything on their plates. I love the picture of your daughter in the grocery cart. That is what mine always looks like. How old is she again? I think my daughter and her are close in age.

Billie said...

Oh Toddlerhood. You already know she's just trying to test what she has control over (and like others have said, when she eats something she checks the block so she knows she needs something else). You'd think someone would have a master plan by now since all kids seem to go through this :-)

Just try to keep plenty of healthy options. Give her plenty of choices of these healthy options and she'll be ok. Kids are amazing at knowing what they need.

Give her plenty of choices elsewhere in her life, too. Give her a chance to choose between a couple shirts in the morning, which sippy cup to drink from, which books to read. Always limit her choices but let her make the choice.

And now Jackson is huge into being the one who gets to put the food on the plate. If I do it he refuses to eat it. But if he gets to do it he will scarf it down (usually).

Good luck and remember....she won't starve; it's just too bad she has to be a whiner in the process :-) Oh parenthood!

DC Running Mama said...

Man o man, this is something we struggle with. Some days he eats really well, other days nada. We were up half the night last night I think b/c he refused everything I offered for dinner (even yummy pork tenderloin and stuffed portabello mushrooms?!) and he was hungry. I have found that he will eat more when he's eating around other kids. I've kind of given up on trying to make him happy...

Clare said...

i tend not to cook a lot per se...but will offer different whole (easy) ingredients if the meal isn't being eaten...broccoli or cauliflower pieces, pasta, beans, a banana, berries. she'll get something healthy into herself most of the time.

Mary IronMatron said...

I'm breaking it to you now. This is not a problem that goes away with toddlerhood. Worse, it starts to filter into everything else--what to wear, what homework to do first, what book to read,
:)
Take your patience pill now! haha! Moana is so cute in those pics. I just want to squeeze that little belly!!

Katie A. said...

Love the Moana posts - even if they are at the expense of your sanity :) Good luck with this one, I am sure it will get better :)

X-Country2 said...

I think so long as you don't cave and give her McDonald's, you're a success. :o)

Charisa said...

Good luck w/ the fickle eating - I bet she'll grow out of it :)

N.D. said...

Nick goes through phases like this, and I almost lose my S***! It is so frustrating! I started putting agave nectar in his super porridge (along with the almond butter) so he seems to eat it up (for now!) Hang in there, hopefully just a phase!

Regina said...

oh yeah. I always tell my son, "this is not a restaurant". I hate to tell you, but it gets worse. I just roll with it. choose your battles.

Lizzie said...

My boss's wife's theory is that she'll let her kids (when they're 10 and over) do whatever they want to their hair . . . . but draw the line at tattoos, and hope the creative leash they have with their hair will be enough to stop them getting inked (not that there's anything wrong with that, but as a parent I bet it's on the wish-list of things you hope they won't do). So I guess it's like other people are saying: pick your battles, limit the choices, but relinquish some control. Hmmm . . . when I have a baby I think I'll just come here for help! And yes, Moana is still as cute as ever! :)

萬分感謝 said...

thank u........................................

cherelli said...

Oh boy, you sound like you've been pretty patient so far :) funny that she likes to go out to eat, hopefully she settles down into a regular food pattern soon...love the pictures of her though!

Nitsirk said...

We are having a similar battle only Jack will only eat mushed veggies, not whole ones. Poor kid gets the same lunch every day too. YoBaby yogurt, applesauce and some toast pieces with cream cheese. He goes to daycare and I don't have the luxury of giving him a second option so I have to pack what I know he will eat. We try new foods on the weekends though. Good luck! Moana is so cute, I love the hair!

Angela and David Kidd said...

We've been going through the same thing. Zach used to eat everything, now it depends on the day what he will and won't eat. Although he'll eat almost anything school gives him because I think he knows they mean business whereas there are options at home. And like Moana, he'll eat anything when we go out. Toddlers are confusing little creatures.