Tuesday, September 25, 2018

When Feeding is Frustrating

I'm over at Kindred Mom today sharing an essay I wrote called When Feeding is Frustrating. If ever you've felt that your child's picky eating is perhaps your fault, this read is for you!

*     *     *     *     *
He’s there with us at the table, so we’ll count that as a win I guess. His three-year-old form takes an occasional sip of milk before he stands on his chair and turns in a circle and I must remind him once again to stay seated. He’s politely declined (we insist on always using good manners) all of the items I’ve prepared for dinner tonight. Just like yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. 

It’s hard for me, the dietitian and nutrition “expert” by degree and the frustrated mom by day, to watch this scene unfold. Inwardly I cringe. All he is having at dinnertime these days is milk. My mind begins to scroll through the options. Perhaps I should stop serving milk at our dinner meal? What time has he been eating his afternoon snack? Could it be that he isn’t hungry at the dinner hour? Perhaps I’m serving dinner too late, and I’ve missed his prime eating window. Maybe forcing him to take a bite just once won’t be an issue?

It’s like my husband was reading my mind. He observes our son’s eating (or more accurately, his lack of eating) and lays down the law. 

“Have you even tried your meat?” he queries. “And what about your green beans? You need to take a bite before you can be excused.” 

I flinch. I know as soon as I hear the words said aloud they don’t sit well with me. While it is hard to watch my son turn down the rainbow of color on the table, it is harder still to swallow the idea of forcing him to eat. This is not the way I want to go about nourishing my kids.

I begin to wonder if he is so particular about food because of me. I was much more intentional with feeding my older two in those early years. I made most of their food from scratch. I was sure to expose them to all sorts of flavors and textures from the get-go. My son, however, had a very different eating experience. When it came time to introduce him to solids, we were living in a constant state of chaos and transition. We had sold our little condo, and we planned to “spend only the summer” residing with my in-laws, while we searched for a new place to call home. A hot Seattle house market and incessant bidding wars sent our dream of getting a house spiraling down the drain. Half a year passed while I tried to balance working part-time, playing mom to three offspring, meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking for my extended family (our “payment” for living with them) all while scavenging Redfin obsessively for potential new homes to tour. 

I barely had a second to think about solids for my growing babe. Introducing new foods involved me tossing a string cheese or banana back to the rear-facing car seat behind me and praying my son didn’t choke as I drove to meet our agent at the next house. It wasn’t an ideal situation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

posted by kelsie