I’ve made not secret of the fact that Ava is not a great eater. Hell, that’s a bit of an understatement. She’s a terrible eater! She literally picks at her food, eats like a little bird and is very very fussy – Que the self flagellation. At my most frustrated and lowest points, I’m convinced it’s because I MUST have done something wrong when introducing solids that has made her so super fussy today. On good days I try to remind myself that she is healthy and strong and totally amazing so I should worry so much, but seriously, it’s easier said than done! I can literally count on my one hand what she will actually eat.
If children could thrive on juice, yoghurt and fresh air I wouldn’t worry so much. But the point is I want her to enjoy a well balanced and nutritious diet, I want to give her everything her body needs to grow up healthy and strong. At the moment, I feel as if I am failing miserably in this department.
Meal times are a nightmare, I actually start feeling myself getting anxious as I begin preparing her food, which almost always is met with a:
“Yukkie” – something I’m sure she learned from her school friends
“I don’t like it, I don’t want it!”
Every meal time is spent coaxing, encouraging, bribing, begging, getting angry, trying to remain calm and worrying about how little she’s actually had to eat.
I put lots of pressure on myself in trying to make foods for her from the limited selection I know she likes , which are healthy and last night was no exception.
I raced home from work to start preparing a cottage pie because I know she’ll eat mince, I know she likes peas and who doesn’t like mash potatoes right?
After the rush to get home and the 40+ minutes it takes to prepare, do you know what she said when I presented her with the delicious, nutritious, home made, well balanced, healthy meal? “NO! I NO WANT IT!”
I spent the next hour trying to pretend that I wasn’t on the verge of tearing my own hair out. By the time Walter got home from work I’d been through every emotion and I’d attempted everything from force feeding (sshh don’t tell the Mommy Police) to begging, to encouraging, to demonstrating how delicious the meal was by eating some of it myself. I even tried bribing her with a Barney Video – Just eat ONE bite and Mommy will put Barney on for you. She was jubilant at the mention of Barney but not convinced to have that one mouthful.
By the time Walter walked in just after 6pm last night, I was reaching the end of my tether (baring in mind that we go through this exact ritual EVERY SINGLE NIGHT). He walked in the door to discover Ava crying and me with splashed cottage pie all over my glasses, dribbling down my face and the dogs licking the remains that had landed on the floor.
Before he could even comment, I told him I was putting MYSELF in time out! One minute for each year of my life, that was 40 minutes of cooling off time for me. I proceeded to sit on the patio with a glass of wine, play on Twitter and try not to laugh out loud as I heard him attempt the very same coercion on Ava that I’d spent the previous hour doing.
She won in the end, she went to bed having eaten only Vienna sausage! The lesson I seem to fail to learn, on a daily basis, is that you simply cannot force a toddler to eat! You just can’t!