4:25 PM

Meal Time Victories

We have been having feeding issues that span the spectrum.  My eldest would eat nothing and my youngest every thing.  They are each extreme examples of nothing and everything.  One I worried would starve to death the other choke to death.  The good news is that for the first time we have two good eaters.  This has been a long time comming for Emery he who would not breast feed, or eat more then a teaspoon and became picky to boot.  He now asks of his own accord to eat veggies at every meal.  Not to be out done Elora has learned to bite, chew and swallow food!! 
Elora was a pretty simple solution, I gave her utensils.  She was slow and sloppy with them but determined to be "grown up" so she stuck with them even though they slowed her down.  The slow down helped her be more mindful of each bite and voila! perfect eater!

Emery's eating issues have been ingrained in him from the start so we have been working on this for about 3 years now.  Maybe the magical number 3 did the trick, or maybe our newest plot got the better of him.  I can tell you that unsolicited advice, family magazine articles about fussy eaters, food that looks fun, food that he grows, food that he picks at the store him self, sending him to bed hungry, letting him graze, yelling, praising, stuffing and begging were not successful for us.  I had a stint of veggie hiding that was keeping me sane and letting me sleep at night. I worried though that his poor eating habits were going to wear off on his sister who was currently a veggie lover and chomper.  So we tried a new tactic and we revisited some old ones and then we mixed them all together and got success!  

Step one was finding a suitable bribe.  In the past Emery did not have an thing that he valued enough to motivate him to do as we asked.  This is the kid who would turn down most candy and cake, we had to fake strategically place the icing on his first birthday cake to get the charming messy face photos.  Recently he got a real appreciation for chocolate ice cream, and I took that opportunity to manipulate him!  We instituted the right to earn ice cream.  At each meal he is asked if he would like to earn some ice cream, he can decline and sometimes does, yet always changes his mind when his sister gets to have her earnings.  The volume of ice cream is equal to the volume of veggies you eat ,I set a minimum amount too, no mousy nibbles as we say, and you must eat the entire meal that is in front of you too.  It's working like a charm.  Another part that helped was serving him crunchy veggies, and we make a contest to see who can crunch the loudest.  Up until now I didn't think he could handle a raw carrot, but the change in texture seems to be major for him.  He also can choose one of three veggies that we now keep on hand.  We also watched at nauseam the Ni Hao Kai Lan episode, Kai Lan goes to China, in preparation for us going to China but the real moral of the story is "try it you might like it".  This lesson hit home with him and we can get him to try any thing now by simply reminding him of this lesson from his toddler hero.  By the way if you are not a Kai Lan fan already go itunes her up NOW!  She got my kid to share, stop hitting, use your words and try veggies, she deserves an Oscar, and is slightly less annoying then Dora.

Dinner time is no longer a battle and I can not tell you what a joy that is.  It seems like it happened just like that, the flick of a switch.  I am not saying this will work for you.  See above regarding unhelpful unsolicited advice and articles about making kids eat.  I only want to be a beacon of hope if you are out there in the mama universe begging your child to eat and dreading meal times and looking on with envy at that child who opens it's mouth when a spoon comes near it.  We were there, and now we are here, and I hope some day soon you and your toddler will also turn this corner and join us on the other side.