Ethan has given us trouble over food for a long time now. When everyone else is happily eating, he complains about the "yuck" food. I've tried all kinds of reactions and strategies, but here he is, almost 5 years old and still as finicky as ever.
Tonight Mimi had made a new recipe, and it was completely child-friendly, healthful and tasty. Ethan rejected it, as usual, without even tasting it. I decided to be extra-strong. I told him that not only would he not get any crackers or the candy he'd been told he could eat after dinner, but I said he'd also not get anything else to eat later in the evening, not even fruit. And while he didn't seem to care about all that, I added that he couldn't get down from the table either, though his siblings were watching the last few minutes of a Magic School Bus video begun earlier.
He was not a happy camper. He cried and pleaded, but I stood strong. I made small goals he could easily accomplish in order to get one cracker at a time as rewards. But he still complained and refused. I left the room to get other stuff done, and after being called back numerous times for him to plead further with me, I told him to only call me again if he was ready for me to watch him eat his bites (to verify he deserved the cracker).
I was gone again for a few minutes and wasn't happy to hear my name called out again. This time he said that he wanted to tell me two things, whispered in my ear. His first whispered phrase was, "I love you." And his second was, "I prayed to God to help me eat my food."
And wouldn't you know it, he ate that dinner! Not every bite, and not enough to get his piece of candy. But almost all of it, which was enough for him to get some nutrition, not have an empty tummy, and to be rewarded with a few crackers. And best of all, it was because of sweet prayer!