The joys of feeding a toddler

17 February 2015

Recently, most meal times are becoming a bit of a chore for us.  Guaranteed if I make Jack something for supper like sausage and mash or pasta or similar (i.e. actually put some effort into a meal) I will put it in front of him or try and spoon feed him and he will flatly refuse it.  He shakes his head vigorously, pushes the plate and spoon away or if he is feeding himself he will look up at me and while maintaining eye, contact drop each piece of pasta or blobs of food one by one on the floor.

Plop, plop, plop.

He then leans over the side of the chair and just stares at it.  Then back at me.
He also likes to smush and rub the food all over his tray using his hands and then touch his ear, rub his hair and eyes and end up with more food on him than in his tummy.  Another favourite is to have a spoon in each hand, scoop up some food from the bowl and then flick the spoons so the food lands all over the wall behind him and often all over me too.

Fun times.

Yesterday this really got to me.  Maybe it's just because I'm tired and having one of those days.  But sometimes I feel like I am totally failing if my child doesn't eat well.  I know I am not a failure but knowing your child is fed and content is a good feeling.  And when they don't want to eat you know that either they are going to get hungry later on and be grumpy or that maybe they aren't 100% and another bug is on the way. 

Jack will however eat porridge, yoghurt or banana no matter what time of the day it is, so often if he won't eat supper I will give him a combination of these and can put him to bed at least knowing he won't wake up hungry in the middle of the night.  But then I worry if I am creating a rod for my own back by giving him something I know he likes instead of teaching him that what he gets for supper is what he should eat.  All this worry and stress and speculation is pretty tiring.

Anyways, after a cup of tea, a huge chocolate brownie and a conversation with my mom I realised there is no point stressing over it.  She also reminded me that he goes to nursery three times a week where he will devour all three meals given to him so at least he gets a well balanced, nutritional diet three times a week.

I don't want to make meal times a "thing".  If he won't eat, I am not going to get upset or stressed. I will lovingly smile at him, put the lovingly homemade meal in the compost bin and get some porridge for him.  Because these phases soon pass and before you know it he will be eating us out of house and home. 

Last night I put a bowl of chicken and sweet potato in front of him and he proceeded to eat the whole thing - whilst this is THE messiest meal time ever he ate the food quite happily.  HOORAY!


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