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Friday, November 18, 2011

This isn't a game; it's dinner.

Ever since Gavin began eating real food (not that baby food crap), I've been annoying boastful about his eating habits.  He was always a good eater, but more importantly he's not one of those kids who will only eat macaroni, pizza, and waffles (but the waffles have to be the exact kind the kid likes or he /she won't even give them a second glance).  Seriously, the kid will try and eat almost anything.  He likes peas, he loves broccoli, and he devours steak when I make it for him.  Actual words that once came out of my mouth: "Honey, you can't have anymore lobster until you have some more of your cheeseburger."  And he was two.

I'm just going to drink this so it looks like I'm eating.
 Of course, if given the choice, he will always choose macaroni, peanut butter and jelly, or candy, but he'll still eat everything else.  Once, when I asked him what he wanted me to bring him for dinner, he said, "Fish."  And, he was actually disappointed when I brought him chicken fingers instead - he really wanted fish.  So, I like to pretend that my militant attitude of he-will-eat-what-we're-eating really paid off - I always said I wouldn't make separate meals - but he might just have a sophisticated palate or some weird thing like that.  All I know is that he'll eat almost anything.

Except when he won't.

Lately, dinner has become a battle.  And, if I'm being completely honest, almost every meal has become a battle.  He didn't suddenly wake up one day and become picky; he woke up one day and decided he had much better things to do than eat.  It doesn't matter what I make - if I serve him grilled cheese or stir fry - he would much rather screw around than touch one bite of it.  If he tells me he's hungry and asks me for macaroni and cheese, he's suddenly no longer hungry when I hand him his bowl of steaming Sponge Bob shaped noodles.  You see, he's too busy making up silly songs, spinning around on the table, pretending he has to go to the bathroom, and throwing a fit to eat.  I mean, really, who has time to eat anyway.

So, now it's become a game.  A game where we have to talk about how many bites he has to eat of each item; a game of how many times he can sneak away from the table before he gets a timeout; a game of how many different threats can I make before he actually just eats the damn food.  And, it's exhausting.  I'm tired of waiting almost an hour for him to eat his six bites of chicken, five bites of peas, and three more bites of rice while I continually remind him that if he sings with food in his mouth he will choke.  I'm sick of having to set a timer (yep, a timer) to give him a limit on how long he has to finish eating something before there is a serious consequence. I'm done with putting him in time-out seven times before he finally eats his last TWO bites of pizza.

I'm not even gonna eat this ice cream!
 Our pediatrician said that he'll eat when he's hungry.  Well, Doc, you were wrong.  You see, no matter how hungry he is, he won't eat if something else is more interesting to him.  And, honestly, everything is more interesting to him than eating.  We were also told not to force him to eat.  Well, you know what happens if he doesn't eat?  He gets cranky.  C-R-A-N-K-Y.  Suddenly, every little thing causes a meltdown.  When I tell him he needs to eat because he's cranky, he tells me he's sick or his tummy hurts.  That's because you're hungry, kid!  Now eat!

So, somehow, some way, I'm determined to find a way to get him to sit, eat, and be done in under 30 minutes without all the games and without having to negotiate how many bites he's taking of each item on his plate.  I'm also trying to figure out how to get money to grow on trees.  I'll let you know how they both turn out.


  1. A hungry Gavin is not a fun Gavin. Not at all.

  2. Oh, I love your posts: funny, smart ass, intelligent.

    Happy I found this blog.

  3. Sounds so familiar ! Is he by any chance your first ? My Mom says eldest kids should get paid compensation for all of our failed experiments.
    My tips - make sure it's food he likes - put it on the table - say Bon Appetit - make it clear that if he leaves the table then it means he's finished (do follow through - gulp !!) - don't hover and watch him eat.
    Child number two will either eat or not but you'll be too busy too notice

  4. Nice! what a great article. I love the way you describe things in here and it shows you care, despite the fact that you sound tired of it, it actually means you care but you make such a mockery of it. It is so well written, well done!

  5. My sister-in-law has these battles with her son, and tries to get him to eat to avoid "the grouchies".