I know…you just shuddered didn’t you. You must have a toddler! Welcome. Mealtimes are notorious for toddlers. I hear fellow tot moms talking about it and the first thing I get in my head is “it happens to everyone”. So first thing is don’t beat yourself up (I know…I do too…but then mantra again). Sometimes I have had a long day and when I hear that little “no”, I want to scream too. But I am learning to deal with it….so I thought I would share.
LT ate everything at first…and I mean everything. Remember? Everything was saying “this will make them more willing to try new foods..blah blah blah”. Well BULLSHIT. In my opinion, it is all about control. It may be a good that he LOVES but if he is in a mood about it, he ain’t gonna eat it. If you dipped his veggie burger FOR him, forgetaboutit. So here are some ground rules I try:
1. Leave him the F alone – sometimes he is talking to the food and smushing it with the spoon but if you just watch out of the corner of your eye, he will eat it. This isn’t full proof but it is amazing what he will do when left to his own devices.
2. Offer something he likes – He loves yogurt raisins. If I can sense the meal is going to be a challenge, I throw a few on there. I rarely get a “NO” when I sit the plate down in these cases. He will eat the raisins and then ask for more. I say “you need to eat more bites of _____ for more raisins”. It works a good bit of the time. Though I warn you with the haste to eat all of said food quickly to get raisins, it will result in a gagging toddler.
3. Invite guests – Maybe we are bad parents but we allow him to take a toy to the high chair. Spectators if your will. Sometimes he pretends to feed them and sometimes they truly just sit there. It helps from having meltdowns to get to the table, so fuck it.
4. Dip – This kid LOVES honey. Honey on anything. He also likes hummus, salsa, and some condiments. Sometimes I can offer dip to get him to eat something. Like I have apples and peanut butter the other day. Instead of the apples, he dipped his chicken. Whatever. Get on wit ya bad self kid. Just eat.
5. NOVELTY – Man he loves novelty. My latest creation is ___ dippers. Pizza, sandwiches, lunch meat, veggies, etc. Put them on a pretzel. Make kabobs or just have the food on the end. It 1) makes a novelty food 2) doesn’t require a fork 3) less crap on their hands. I give you exhibit A:
Other novelty idea: octopus hotdogs (leave a little head and slice down the hot dog to make 8 legs). We also found cutting fresh veggies in different directions creates a “new effect”. Somedays it is small squares, but he really likes long slices to crunch.
But still, long story short…it’s a crapshoot. God speed.