My kids used to be easier to feed than they are now. Maybe my standards were lower? No, that was just his birthday celebration and his Nonna gave him that monstrosity piece of cake the size of his face!
Truthfully, when Peanut was my only actual eater because Pickle was still on the boob life was easier...in so many ways. He's always been a fairly good eater and since he was my only child and then only eater I took the credit for it!
Once he was on table food (I, an overachieving mother, of course, made my own baby food for that brief in-betweeny stage), but once he was eating real food we gave him tiny age appropriate size portions, which for toddlers is about a tablespoon per year of age. (Great link by the way. We used it all the time when I was worried more about proper nutrition and less about whether or not I was going to eat my own young.) We also never did the "clean plate club" or the "eat this many bites" or anything like that. We encouraged him to eat it and if he wouldn't or didn't like it then it was easy enough to give him something else yogurt, cereal, PB&J...depending on his age. It was one kid and not a big deal to us at all.
But then! Then! Almost simultaneously I had triple the amount of toddler/preschool taste buds to contend with because Pickle was 17 months old and contending with serious stomach issues/not eating or gaining weight, we brought home a young preschooler from Ethiopia, and there was still Peanut.
The chaos started May 2010 and it lasted until spring of 2011. They were eating. They were not eating. They were snacking constantly. They didn't want to try things and the little wimps are suckers for peer pressure because as soon as one of them didn't like it the rest of them didn't like it either whether or not they'd previously enjoyed it, if they were still chewing their last mouthful and said they liked it, or it was manna from heaven. Plus you throw in what passes for manners and humor at that age and the whole thing was a disaster.
For most of that time I didn't care. I couldn't care. It was not a matter that was going to heal us and so we let it slide. By early spring though I'd had enough.
The first thing I changed was snack time.
There was a morning snack time usually between 9:30-10. And that would be the ONLY snacktime of the morning. They could eat or they could not eat, but I was going to having individual snacktimes all day. And morning snack is pretty basic. There is not that much time between breakfast and lunch! Fruit and milk was pretty standard, or a slice of cheese, a few crackers, and maybe some juice.
This snacktime switch-up was good for my kids. It settled them down. They quit asking eighty gajillion times a day if it was time to eat, when it would be snack time, if we were eating dinner today, and all manner of other absurd questions about food. They also started being more interested in eating dinner (slightly). What I think, is that each of them felt more secure, felt more like--hey, there's an adult in charge here. I don't have to ask to fed (but I can), and they continue to feed me! I will stop worrying about my next meal and will concentrate on the business of being a child:
Remember I'm not saying that this work for your child or even that you should try. We all know that with children who have trauma issues that food issues are common and that the perils of parenting have slipperier slope and steeper learning curves. I've got to blog about something though. :)
Next week: Feeding Preschoolers: Dinnertime