First thing I have to say is this is my second child. I learned what to do / not to do with the first. My first (the boy) was a picky eater.
Picky, Picky, Picky.
For him it was a McNugget, a homemade nugget, or another type of nugget then he would eat it. Not much else. Sigh.
I recall many fights at the dinner table with forced bites, gagging, frustration, etc. For moms out there who are going through that, I’m sorry. It is the worst.
That said, there came a time when I read an article online talking about how they present the same meal to their child until they eat it. I have threatened it many times, I only had to do it once until this week.
This week we had stuffed peppers one night. The boy has been asking about meatloaf and what it is and can he have some lately. So when I
made bought the stuffed peppers and cooked them I decided to let the kids have one each. The boy is 7 now and he liked it. He ate it up and said that it was yummy. Yes, the kid who we used to force feed anything that wasn’t McNuggets was happy. I told him that we must get Grandma’s recipe for meat loaf and I may even try to cook it some day. It’s from scratch, so that’s a Friday night thing likely. Cheech wasn’t a fan. She ate them without much complaint, but I asked do you like it and she said, “Definitely, NO!”
The next night I made pork chops, carrots, and Spinach. The boy didn’t like the spinach, but he ate it. We’ve had the rest before and carrots are one of his favorites. Cheech didn’t like it. At all. She just sat there pouting. She’s 5 and I remember when the boy was 5, though I’d like to forget it. We had a lot of power struggles.
That’s ok, I’ve had these standoffs before. This time I instructed her that she didn’t have to eat it, but she was having it for her next meal. “But that’s breakfast!” Yep, I know. Gross huh? Eat.
Twenty minutes of staring at her plate and making horrible disgust sounds I told her to just go get ready for bed. “Can I have an apple?” Nope. It’s that meal or nothing. “Nothing!” OK, I said. Calm like only a second time mom version of me could be.
The next morning I made pancakes. By that I mean I got the frozen pancakes and put them in the microwave. (Making pancakes is a Friday night thing)
She sat down and I gave her the dinner plate of food. She was like, “Maaaaaaaa!” I said ok let’s strike a deal. You can eat *just* the spinach now and you can have pancakes, but this food here – this is your lunch. OK and she ate it. Quickly while making horrible noises, but quickly so she could drink water after each bite and think about pancakes that her brother was eating. I did tell her that I was going to email her teacher and that she couldn’t buy lunch. Only what she took. She was like, “I don’t really want that chicken” and I said good because it’s pork chops. I didn’t email her teacher. I decided to wait and see what happened.
Honestly, I had forgotten about it until she got home from school. “Mom, can I have a snack? I guess I’ll have to eat my chicken for snack because all I ate for lunch was the apple you sent for snacktime.” I was shocked and happy. Strange? Yes, she hadn’t eaten it, but she also didn’t lie about it! When I had told hubby my master plan he had laughed and said that she was just going to throw it away and buy her lunch. I said whatever, I was committed to this plan. I asked what happened and she said, “Look, I still wasn’t hungry enough to eat that chicken, I just didn’t want it, so I ate my apple and figured by the time I got home from school maybe I’d be hungry enough and I guess I finally am.” I had felt like I won that morning when she ate the spinach. Spinach and pancakes do not make the best combo. But I knew I’d won when she ate it as her after school snack. She sat there and ate her porkchop pieces and her carrots while the boy had his string cheese and water. (We drink a lot of water.)
My heart swelled with pride. I wasn’t sure what I was more proud of, the fact that I’d “won” this food fight, or the fact that she didn’t lie to me when she could have. Either way I so would have caved with the boy. It stinks that I have to learn from the first, but my patience is getting better. Spanking went away in its place came losing chore money and losing toys. Muhahaha I know they’d rather have a spanking and that’s how I know I’m doing it right.