Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Toddler War on Food

This post is coming to you at three o'clock in the morning. Connor decided to wake up at 2:15 this morning. He was wide awake, asking to "nap in Daddy's room". Sure enough little guy, let's go snuggle up with Papa. Yeah, friggin' right. We've been through this before. He may ask to sleep in Momma and Daddy's room but the only person getting any sleep is Daddy. Oh and Rudy of course. 

I know without a doubt the reason he is up is because he didn't get dinner. Not that we are holding out on him. No, not all. We had one of our favorite meals. Tasty baked Italian chicken breast with green beans and potatoes. What part of that dish did Connor eat? Nada. Zip. Zero. Not a single bite. I could have easily made him something else but "that's not what you are supposed to do". So our stubborn 2 year old had 8 ounces of almond milk. Which is a whopping 90 calories. Yeah, I'd be up at 3AM hungry, too.

Connor is a picky eater and I can't hold that against him. Because guess what? He gets it from his Momma. No questions about it. I was the world's pickiest eater as a child. For example, I wouldn't eat spaghetti sauce on spaghetti night. Instead I would request just the noodles with hamburger meat, butter and green olives. What the what? Yeah... I was a pain in the ass child. But as an adult, I've gotten better. But bottom line is, Connor comes by it naturally.

What does a parent do? Make a second meal that we know he will eat or deal with nightly wakeups because little fella has an empty belly? My personal choice is to let him eat whatever he wants at dinner - which if I do say so myself isn't horrible really. It's not like the kid is eating chips, cookies and juice meal after meal. Connor is a little guy, just barely 26 pounds so I don't feel comfortable standing my ground and not making him his own meals on nights when he is being super picky. I wouldn't say I'm worried about his weight but it's something I think about as he hasn't gained a single ounce in over 4 months.

I've been toying with the idea of giving him a smoothie with dinner in place of his milk (giving that to him earlier in the day). Maybe one filled with a veggie and/or protein to get his belly a little fuller if he does decide to be a food snob. I could easily give him a peanut butter sandwich with some raisins and cheese and he would be as happy as a clam. But dude can't survive on that for the rest of his life. Or can he? Hell I don't know. 

It's the middle of the night and I'm exhausted and Connor is currently watching Barney, playing with his tractor enjoying a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of milk. And he is eating it like it's his last meal. I hope that someday soon CJ will eat a small plate of what we are eating. I hope one day he will try green beans or potatoes and choose to eat a meat that's not breaded or a turkey dog. Until then we will keep doing the best we can with what we have.

20 comments:

  1. This is so my story too! Grayson is picky and stubborn. He eats more at daycare (he goes 3 days a week) then he does at home. And I used to fight. I used to only give him what we eat. But then I got tired and I would stress and he would wake up at 2 in the morning. Hungry. So I give him what we are eating first and let him sit with that for 20 mins. If he does not touch it then I offer a peanut butter sandwich and some veggie/fruit pouch. Some days he breaks down and eats what we are eating. Other days I lose the battle and he gets yet another sandwich. I asked our dr about it and he said when it comes to food if they are eating a fruit and or veggie with every meal and milk that is what is important. Sleep out weighs food. Once he said that I was all for giving what I know he will eat as long as it's not cookies. Hang in there Momma!

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    1. I just want him to a) sleep all night and b) eat something. That's not asking for too much, right?

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  2. Yes, I am in the same exact place with our youngest. Child one came along and ate everything, never giving us problems. We were shocked, especially seeing we were both insanely picky. Then Emily. Oh sweet Emily. That girl gives us a run for our money. I approach it the same as you. I don't make a fuss over feeding her something different but I don't do the eat or starve game either. They will come around eventually... right?

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    1. I'm waiting until the point where Connor truly gets what one more bit means because right now, I might as well be talking Japanese.

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  3. So, just curious... what are your thoughts on this for a 5 year old? I have been doing two meals for most of his life and now he expects it but it is getting really old. Especially since he refuses to try new things (quite often). He is better at trying some stuff for his dad, but he will nearly vomit in his plate (and has more than once) if I try and make him try something. So frustrated!

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    1. Holy smokes! I don't know. I just have no clue. I mean, I'm hoping that as Connor gets older I can use the just 2 bites trick with him. What does your little guy say? I mean, he is 5 so he can clearly voice his opinions.

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  4. Ugh I just typed a really long comment that the internet ate. Basically what I said was Hunter has gotten much pickier lately even with foods we know he likes. We refuse to make him separate meals because it just seems to start a bad pattern. Our rule is he can't leave the table or play with toys/watch a show until he takes at least one bite of everything on his plate. If he takes a bite and doesn't like it he doesn't have to eat it but he has to at least try it. I always try to put at least one thing I know he will eat on his plate...usually fruit. He knows if he doesn't eat dinner he gets nothing else and fortunately we haven't had to deal with middle of the night wake ups. So far it's been working pretty well but we have tough nights. I think the smoothie idea is good and have been thinking of doing that with Hunter to sneak him some veggies.

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    1. Connor is what? 10 months younger than Hunter. When did the one bite thing start working with him? We try it now and Connor says done and pushes his plate away. I did give him a smoothie tonight so hopefully that helps keep him a little fuller. I'll keep you posted.

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  5. we are starting to hit some of these struggles - I think it's about independance and food. At least it is for Callie. I don't think she's at an age to say you're not eating so I will at times make her other things. It's frustrating to make something she lived last week to have it refused this week. Do what's best for your family to all be fed and happy and rested. I try to look at the total of what Callie ate in a week not a day. Hugs mama - I hope he went back to sleep after feeding his belly!

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    1. He slept fine and ate pretty well tonight. I'm hoping that the extra calories in the smoothie I gave him helps. I worry a bit because he is so little. But he is so busy. Seriously. It's insane so I don't see him every really being chubby. Or at least not for a while.

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  6. Ugh. We struggle with this sometimes with Henry, too....and Wes. It's so hard. We often give them string cheese, crackers...stuff that's good, and then encourage them to taste what's offered. I think eating habits are hard to work with at kids this little... Henry's just been able to negotiated with in the past year.

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    1. Connor loves fruit and cheese and meatballs. He would eat that every lunch and dinner if I let him. He has a lot he will eat. The kid loves fish! But I'm not about to make fish every night. Sorry kiddo. Eat your dang chicken and like it.

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  7. We struggle with this on the daily. Lunch time I usually make the food I know M will eat (peanut butter sammies, mac and cheese, hot dogs, you know, the finest of delicacies). At dinner I often try to make some part of our meal something I know M will eat. For example, last night we had parmesan crusted chicken, cheesy orzo with broccoli, and peas. I know M will gobble up the peas and orzo, so that goes on his plate. He might try a bite of chicken, but it's doubtful. I also try to keep his snacks full of protein: anything with peanut butter, protein bars we disguise as "chocolate bars," and the like.
    Hang in there. Seems like we're all battling this one.

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    1. Connor is so picky. Has been since he hit 1 but last night I just knew him waking up was because he was hungry. He didn't eat a dang thing for dinner. Today was better. A smoothie was added and I made sure to have a thing or two on his place that I know he likes. He will grow out of this at some point. Until then, pass the PB&J.

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  8. Girl, I say do whatever you need to to a) get him to eat and b) get yourself some sleep. Who really cares what "they say you should do". Or maybe I am just a rebel and don't care lol. Often now, we give Mason what we are eating. Sometimes he only eats his cup of apple sauce and then thinks he's done, or sometimes he will eat everything on his plate. Sometimes he eats by himself, and sometimes I have to put the food in his mouth to get him to eat. I'm sure you're not supposed to do half the things I do, but like you, I'd rather all of us eat something and get sleep at night, so for now, I do what I have to to get that accomplished. Toddlers are so picky! You're doing a great job! Hope you guys get more sleep tonight!

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    1. Things have been much better but now we have some allergy/sinus crap we are dealing with!

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  9. Chickie is very little for her age as well. A whopping 30lbs. I really do think a lot of it stems from them realizing that they are old enough now to know better. When Chickie was younger, I could put anything down in front of her and she would eat. Fast forward to now and it's hit or miss which really makes it difficult because Michael and I feel completely opposite on how to handle it. For me, I don't mind whipping up something extra if it means she'll eat. Michael stands firm on the whole "You'll eat what's served or go hungry" kind of ground. While I see benefits to both ways of thinking in the end, it's simply really about Chickie and what she needs and what the both of you need to keep your home peaceful. What I do is say, "It's OK if you don't want the chicken but I know you like green beans so you eat those green beans while I warm up something else for you, OK?" And 9 times out of 10 that little trickery works. She gets what she wants and I get what I want.

    I dunno girl, it's all a crap shoot. Do what you need to do to sleep and keep the peace. People can say what they want about standing ground and all that but at the end of the day, they aren't the ones in your situation not sleeping. Just sayin.

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    1. As long as his lack of chub doesn't mean a more serious issue I really don't care how small or even big he may be. But we gotta sleep at night. I've found that a little extra milk helps too so we've upped that intake.

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  10. Oh that's a tough one. I personally think as long as he eats something that is kind of healthy, why not offer him what he wants. He will sleep and maybe he will get tired of eating the same thing over and over.

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    1. Yeah, some of his favorites are boring him and he picks at them instead of eating so I think it may be working. Boredom at it's finest.

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Thank you so much for commenting on today's post. I reply to comments via Disqus so if you are curious as to what I may have to say in response to your message, just visit this post and check your comment. -- xo, Stephanie