Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Advice Under the Influence


So, I like food, my husband likes food, my toddler? Well, let's just say he is sustenance-ly challenged. He will be 3 in a couple of weeks and he refuses to try any new food. I have tried everything from cutting up food into fun shapes, making a game out of eating, promising delicious treats as reward for eating, blah, blah, blah. Everyone tells me, "he'll eat when he's hungry"...which is...never. If I tell him that he can get down from the table but let him know there won't be snacks (and keep to my guns), he doesn't care and won't ask for anything to eat later.

I just got him to start eating mac & cheese again (I know, NOT healthy), spaghettios, and pb sandwiches. He won't touch anything with fruit in it (including jelly, I'd wonder if is he adopted, but since I carried him for 9 months and went through labor with him...). He like peas, but for the most part, doesn't eat many veggies.

We do family dinners sitting down all together at the table. And no known food allergies. I try to fix him a plate of what we are having but he pushes it away and asks to get down.

At daycare, however, he eats all kinds of things. Green beans, chicken nuggets, tuna noodle casserole, and so on. I have tried to fix things that he supposedly eats at daycare, but he won't touch them at home.

He is growing and is not small for his age (95th percentile in height and 50th percentile in weight), so I shouldn't be concerned. But, I totally am. Any suggestions?


Dearest Sara,

I (and I am confident enough to say most other mommies) feel your pain. The dinner table and the potty chair have the same standing in my eyes: devices of parental torture. I have learned a few things along the torture trail, though.
  1. Let them help make dinner. Kids get excited when they have a part in the process. Just stirring the macaroni in the water or picking out the pieces of bread for a sandwich helps them feel like they are helping and, in turn, makes them more willing to eat it.
  2. Give a dinner table warning. Let your son know that you will be sitting down to eat soon. My daughter has responded better when we let her know it is coming instead of just picking her up from whatever she is destroying doing and plopping her in her chair.
  3. Kind of ignore the whole eating issue while actually at the table. The attention, whether positive or negative, only seems to make the pressure mount on both parties. If he eats, great. Don't say anything about it. If he just sits and sulks, great. Don't say anything about it. After you have all finished eating, tell him thank you for sitting with the family for dinner and send him on his merry way to flush Cheerios down your toilet.
  4. Don't try to be Supermom. What he is eating sounds good to me. Slap that pb on wheat and consider yourself a success. All these micro-managing mommies tend to make us feel like shit if our kids aren't eating organic kumquats and quinoa at every meal, but screw them. Food is food. As long as he doesn't survive on Kool-Aid and Cheetos, you are doing a hell of a job.
  5. Hide little stuff if you can. Puree crap and shove it in anywhere you can if you feel he needs more nutrients. It he likes peas, add some spinach. If he likes mac n cheese, puree in some carrots and cauliflower. Some people think this is trickery. I like to think or it more like magic. Now you see the spinach, now you don't TA-DA!
  6. And last but not least, don't sweat it if he doesn't eat. You just said he eats at daycare. He isn't going to starve to death from one meal to the next. The simple fact is: he just might not be all that hungry.
Bottom line: you are doing everything right. Pour yourself some Pinot, load up an episode of Gossip Girl and relax. Your kid sounds awesome, healthy and, most importantly, NORMAL!

The Beer Bitch
Advice Under the Influence
Not sure of whether to go with Playtex or Dr. Brown's? Looking for a way to keep your toddler from shaving your cat again? Want to know what to do when your husband pees on the toilet seat again? Well, the Dr. is in. Email me your query and I will put on my thinking cap and publish your question, along with my answer. 


  1. I agree with the hiding tactic, hell I'm 24 and I still hide my veggies from me. And I'm the one who makes the food. So don't sweat it. Start pureeing now, then go to a fine dice, then normal sized pieces over a long period of time.

    I agree with the helping of making food, the warning for dinner, the ignoring of eating/not eating, okay so I agree with it all.

    I think the most important thing to remember is this is just a phase: all kids are shitty eaters at some stage or another and just realizing it and not going crazy over it will help you in the long run.

  2. It's great that he's getting one good meal a day. And remember, when kids act better at day care than at home, it just means that they know you love them unconditionally, and won't stop loving them if they act up. It's actually a compliment, like a cat bringing you a dead mouse!

  3. I did daycare for a year, and the 1-year-old girl's parents sent stuff to me that she refused at home. I quit watching Miss G 2 weeks ago and spoke to her mommy a couple days ago and heard the same thing from her. G's mom begged to know how to get Li'l G to eat and called an hour later reporting success. She made the food while she told G what she was doing, gave her the heads-up (going to eat soon), turned the tv and radio off (which are on all the time in that house) and gave G one scoop of one food and sippy cup when G signed “thirsty”. Then G's mom went about her own business and gave more food or sippy cup when G signed for it.

    I'm lovin' the advice under the influence! :)

  4. I love you, Beer Bitch.
    How am I going to remember all this important stuff as long as I will have to before I will need it? Little Boy isn't even due till September, which means there won't be solid food till sometime in 2013, and between now and then it's my understanding that I will get to stop sleeping and remembering things or even having *time* to remember things...
    Also, I do not have a nursery yet. A room that is supposed to be a nursery, but still full of other stuff that doesn't really have any other place to go. Also it has become difficult for me to move said stuff on my own, which has always been my modus operandi for home rearrangement. The husband gets cranky about it. Or maybe I get cranky but I can't tell when he's not there.
    I highly recommend your style of moving in contrast to my own -- sooo much better to move into a home twice the size of your previous one than half its size. While procreating.

  5. I also recommend smoothies with veggies in it. You can easily put a good portion of spinach in a smoother and with other things added into it, he won't even know its there!

  6. I absolutely love spinach! I recommend picking up Deceptively Delicious, as it has a lot of really great wholesome recipes in them, and I love it! I'm the picky eater at my house, so if I will eat it, it's pretty darn good. Like chocolate brownies with spinach in them??? To die for.


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