Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sister, the Terrible Eater

I have come to a disconcerting realization. Sister, my 3 and 1/2 year old first born delight, has become a picky eater. I didn't think this parenting fate would be mine; at one and a half, Sister ate absolutely anthing you put on her tray with great gusto. Fruits, veggies, eggplant parmasean- it was all good. Then slowly, over the past year or so, foods started to meet with a turned-up nose and proclamation of "I no like it!"
Naturally, green veggies were the first to go. I wasn't too shaken up. I knew that many toddlers went through a stage of refusing green vegetables, and since she ate so much fruit, I wasn't concerned. Fast forward to this week, and Sister's food dislikes have overtaken almost the entire food pyramid. This week the only things she will eat are PB&J, cheese grits (but never cheese by itself!), and pancakes. Oh, and a few fruits- bananas, grapes, pears, and oranges. Thank goodness for that. Of course, she'd eat as many cookies and sweets as I'd give her, but I am not doing much of that.
Regretfully, though, I have found myself doing things I have always thought silly, such as bargaining "If you eat three more bites of supper, you can have a cookie." or demanding "You can't watch your show until you taste the spaghetti." or giving in "She has hardly eaten today! I'll just make her a PBJ and that way we can eat in peace and she won't be hungry."
And has any of it helped? Absolutely not. It's only getting worse. In fact, now even the choice foods are found lacking. "There is too much peanut butter!", a tearful Sister will wail. Or the pancakes are too "crunchy" or the grits "aren't good." It's enough to test the very core of this Mama's patience.
I find myself wondering how much of this behavior has been fueled by the move. Sister has demonstrated a lot of new behaviors since the move- sleeping issues, new fears at nighttime, clingy, whiny behavior, and the worst picky eating we've ever seen. But I guess no matter what the cause, we still have to deal with it.
So, what am I doing? What do I always do when I am faced with a parenting dilemma? Order books! I searched Amazon and found two that looked good. One came yesterday: Feeding the Kids. I skimmed over it and already have some good insights. Number one is to quit making mealtime a battleground. I really already knew that but somehow needed a fresh voice to help me refocus.
So, I think I'll go read now. Future reports on the food wars will be posted here.

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