Monday, February 4, 2008

Eating Struggles

I had always sworn that I would not raise picky eaters. I grew up eating a large variety of food, I still enjoy diverse tastes, and find whiny eaters incredibly frustrating. I thought that I could determine this characteristic in my children by making both usual and unusual foods, and not giving in to their limited whims. Ha. Goes to show what you think you know ahead of time about parenting!

Naomi started out a great eater. When she was one, she ate anything put in front of her.

Not so anymore. Now it seems we battle over at least half of our meals. Do you know how tiring that is? Today she decided to just hide during our dinner so that we wouldn’t make her eat. I actually enjoyed the first few quiet minutes of our meal, minus her whining and arguing. Unfortunately, I concluded that I really should make her take a few bites before rejecting the entire meal, and thus ensued yet another noisy struggle.

It would even be preferable if she would just say “no” and then sit there refusing to eat. But instead she goes on and on, either asking us questions (Does this fish have blood in it? Does it have its eyeballs in it? What’s that black thing?) or giving us reasons why she can’t eat something. Today her brother jokingly said there were bugs in her oatmeal, and wouldn’t you know it, she refused to eat the rest of her bowl. Unbelievable.

Five years into parenting, I’m becoming a little more relaxed about my responsibility for my kids’ eating habits, but also a bit more determined to not give up yet! I allow that people will have all kinds of preferences and dislikes for various tastes, but I insist that dishes be tried before opinions are formed. It sure would be easier to not care and just give her chicken nuggets for every meal.

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