2009 13/01

But I don’t think I like that….

Have you seen that commercial where the mom and daughter are grocery shopping and, after the mom lists off each item they need to buy, the daughter says “I don’t think I like that”? Even after the mom says “waffles”, the daughter is convinced she doesn’t like waffles. That is my daughter! And that scene is played out in our house at pretty much every meal.

Breakfast usually happens without much of an issue. As long as you don’t ask her to eat something crazy like eggs, sausage, or bacon then Abbi will happily clear her plate and sometimes even ask for more.

Lunch can really be hit or miss. Abbi has recently convinced herself that she no longer needs to eat lunch but the rule is that even if she is not hungry she will sit at the table during lunch. If she choses not to eat, well that is her choice. But she has yet to go hungry for lunch. Now, I’m not a proponent for making a kid eat if they aren’t hungry or the whole “clean plate club” but, when she’s begging for a snack 5 minutes prior, I’m pretty sure she’s hungry enough to eat a sandwich. And usually she’s asking for some jello or string cheese after the sandwich has been devoured.

And then we come to dinner. The daily battle we call dinner in our house. Oh it is such a battle. Again she is convinced that she is not hungry, but if I offered her some fruit snacks or a cookie, ahhh then she would be hungry. So, I make dinner. I make Abbi a plate with a few bites of whatever we are having and then some peaches or yogurt (because I know she’ll eat those). Now, mind you, I’m not making some horrible things for us to eat. Usually it is spaghetti or chicken or tacos. Oh the humanity! How could I dare make that poor child eat spaghetti?

So I put Abbi in her chair, place the plate in front of her and the battle begins. “I don’t like spaghetti.” “I’m just going to eat my peaches.” “I’m not hungry.” “I’m just going to sit and watch you guys eat.” She’s even done this when I’ve offered her mac-n-cheese or pizza. There is no winning!

My responses? I’ve pretty much tried every ammunition. I’ve offered deserts if she finishes her plate….that worked once. I’ve begged. I’ve pleaded. I’ve bribed. I’ve threatened. Yes, I’ve threatened. Lately I’ve been telling Abbi that if she didn’t eat her dinner then she would be going straight to bed from dinner, no playing. Again, that worked once and now she says “Ok mom, I’m ready for bed.” And she goes. To bed. Without a fuss. My newest threat has been time-outs. Oh the girl does not like time-outs. Boys and girls. We have a winner!

Now, before you start judging me (if you’re not already), please know that I’m not making her eat everything on her plate. All I ask is that she tries a bite of everything. One little bite. I even offer her a variety of dipping sauces — Ranch dressing, ketchup, honey. The time-out threat seems to work. At least it gets her to try one tiny, little, itsy-bitsy bite of green bean or chicken.

My question to you is, How do you get your toddler to try new foods or even eat the foods you know she/he liked once before? She’s never been a great eater. As a baby she would even gag on some of the jarred baby foods. I just figured it was because they tasted like nastyness or were really salty. I’m thinking I just have a picky eater on my hands (my mom is totally saying “like mother like daughter” right now).

So what do I do with a picky eater? Do I just keep trying the new foods and the foods she once liked (that’s what the books all say)? Do I start making some completely bizarre foods in hopes that she just has a very unique taste in food? Do I smoother every thing in chocolate so she’ll at least eat it?

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