Thursday, May 8, 2014

Food Wars, Part Deux

He likes food, he really does.

If we let him have his way, he would always eat granola bars, hummus, beans, oatmeal, bread, peanut butter, yogurt, apples, oranges, bananas, and berries. Sometimes avocado, pizza, and fried chicken.  If he could make a meal out of french fries dipped in ketchup, he totally would, always kindly offering the soggy, ketchup-less fry to his parents to eat after he's done with the ketchup, or "sickup."

And milk. He can drink his "noonk" for days. In a bottle (and by bottle, I mean like a nalgene bottle). In a cup. In a bottle with a new straw but the lid nearby.

And some water. He likes his waggle (water/agua).

The problem is, I would like him to eat some other things.  I would like him to at least try what we have for dinner. I want him to get some protein, other than milk.  We are omnivores, and I would enjoy it if my son would at least give meat a chance...

But no.

It's not just that he won't take the food from us. He won't take it from himself. He will put a bite of something we think is amazing, like roasted carrots, on his fork, get it so close that he can almost, but not quite, taste it. Then, nope.  "Yucky." He dumps the carrot, or garlic bread, or lasagna, on his tray and asks for hummus. Always hummus.

When I see the list of foods he actually does eat, I feel somewhat better, but in many ways, as we inch towards his second birthday, it's less about the food and more about the power. Who's in charge here?

Most of the time, he gets to do what he chooses to do. Ride the tractor? Sure. Play with your horsies? Of course. Put Elmo to bed over and over and over and over? Yep, you've got it, and I'll even help you tuck him in.

At dinner time, though, he needs to sit at the table with us. He has his choice of chairs - just no laps until we're done, please - but needs to stay at the table. And he needs to eat what's offered.  If he finishes his avocado or pasta or curry, he can have that yogurt or those berries he desires.  Until then, though, we wait.

This type of waiting is not peaceful, my friends.

Eating like prisoners is still in effect, but we've taken a turn toward being tortured like insurgent spies.

Crying, screaming.




"If you eat two bites, you can get down."


"If you eat two bites, you can have yogurt."

"Yourt? No."

"Okay, sweetie, we are going to sit here until Mommy and Daddy are done eating, and then you can get down, but you need to sit here."

"Mommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyy, down." Tears stream down his face, and I just know he's going to go running into the arms of some tramp when he's in high school, claiming his mother never comforted him when he cried.  I should start saving for a therapist now.

This goes on for a while.

He screams.

We offer solutions, namely, that he eat something.

I want to give in. Oh, how I want to give in. I want to go get the tractor, and the horsies. I want to name names. Wait, what?

"No, love.  We need to sit here. You need to eat something."

Then, I will remember. We have something in the fridge I want him to eat.

"Do you want beans?"

The tears stop.  "Yeaaaaaahhhh. Beans. Peese."

His little red face lights up with a smile.  He shovels beans in his mouth and asks for more, which of course, I do not have. But, we've staved off the hangry with the few bites of beans, and we can handle that there are no more beans.  He's earned his dessert by this point. He crunches on some apple slices, then asks for his tractor (seriously, he's all about hummus and his tractor).

The adults have, somehow, finished eating by this point; so, we let him down to play. We made it through another dinner, with my solidly built son pecking like a bird at his food.

And at one a.m., he wakes up crying and asking for a granola bar.


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