Monday, January 28, 2013
meal wars: dinner drama
It's like someone flipped a switch in my boy.
The mere sight of foods that Mason used to eat eagerly and happily now cause him to sob and scream: chicken, potatoes, broccoli, pork chops, rice, pineapple--nothing too crazy. I literally place him in the high chair, he nervously looks at his plate/high chair tray, frowns, starts badgering me for a cracker, and freaks out when I encourage him to eat whatever's for dinner. He has a complete meltdown in the chair, won't take a single bite of anything on his plate, and ends up going to bed without any dinner. This has happened a couple times in the past week.
If I would let him, I'm sure he'd eat a dinner of solely crackers, applesauce, or sweet potatoes, but I put my foot down. Yes, I feel like a horribly cruel mother sending my 16-month-old to bed without any dinner. But my gut tells me that giving in and letting him eat whatever he wants isn't wise for any of us in the long run.
Each time Mason has boycotted dinner, I've wrapped up his untouched plate and placed it in the refrigerator, ready for him should he wake up starving at 3 AM. Although he sleeps somewhat fitfully on an empty stomach, thus far, he's made it through the night. And the next day he's absolutely ravenous, hungry enough, in fact, to wolf down the yucky dinner that he shunned the night before. Go figure.
I barely give Mason an afternoon snack to ensure he's good and hungry for dinner. As much as possible, we try to eat together as a family so that he can see Brad and I eating the same foods he does. I try to mix up the way his food is served to keep him interested and engaged. Any other ideas to ward off the thunderstorm at dinner, Gentle Readers? I've discovered that if I give one of his staple foods--applesauce, sweet potatoes, etc.--too early in the meal, he will simply demand more of it and won't eat anything else, so I tend to use those foods as rewards or to help the green veggies slide down a little easier.
It's no accident that my two siblings and I will eat pretty much anything. Sure, we have our favorite foods, but we're not at all picky eaters. I have no idea how my mom did it with all three of us, and she doesn't remember either, but this is one battle I find worthy of fighting. I need to hunker down because food rebellion, unfortunately, feels like it could be a long war.
What's your version of dinner drama and how do you handle it?