Breaking The Rules!

You know that joke about how you should enjoy having all the (parenting) answers while still childless because it’s the last time you’ll have all the answers? Well seriously, this past 16 months has been an exercise in learning how to eat humble pie for me.  I know we’re all guilty of this. I have a little smile on the inside when I hear some of my childless friends make comments and judgements about parenting. I smile because I know that when they become parents, they too will be eating a heap of humble pie, just like I am.

So in the last week, whilst Ava was so desperately ill, the miniscule amount of food that she had been eating diminished to nothing. I’m talking about less than 100ml’s of milk, when she should be having 400ml’s a day. I’m talking about 3 t-spoons of yoghurt and perhaps a raspberry in an entire day, and those things are eaten under duress, I’m talking about literally holding her arms done and shoving the food in. Out of desperation, we broke one of our own (pre-parenting) cardinal rules! We broke one of those rules that each one of us, before becoming parents, sniffed indignantly and states our child would NEVER do that!

We have started offering Ava what we jokingly refer to as “The Buffet”!

This entails preparing her meal – two veggies, a protein and a carb, presenting them, neatly separated, on a plate on the tray of her high chair (but the high chair has been dropped to its lowest setting, so it’s literally waist height for her) and allowing her to pick and choose and eat while (deep breath – don’t tell the mommy police) watching TV and walking around and playing with her toys.

And the change has been phenomenal! She has started to eat! For the first time in her life, my child is eating! And she’s eating well! Granted, it takes about an hour for her to eat a meal but I don’t care, she’s eating without tantrums, without having to hold her down and shove food in her mouth, without all the whining and tantrums that go along with sitting in the high chair! Her meals are now peaceful affairs where she stands over her tray, has a look at what’s on offer, selects something, pops in her mouth, wanders around, picks up a toy, plays and then heads back over to her high chair to make another selection. In addition, she’s also started eating things she previously refused – veggies for example, she was not wild about them and would throw them on the floor but now she’s eating carrots and peas and corn and its wonderful!

She’s extremely active since starting to walk full-time. She does not stop for a second, she never sits down, and she’s moving all the time so putting her in the high chair had really begun to cause problems as she hated having her movement restricted. But this new “Buffet” method appears to be working a treat.

The other side effect of “The Buffet” method that has been fantastic is that because she’s started eating better, her constipation has pretty much disappeared *knocks on wood* and she has been Dupholac free for a week!

Whoop whoop for eating and pooping!

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  • Reply Fiona

    It is a worry when you put your children to bed and you wander if they are hungry because they haven’t eaten all day so in my opinion as long as your new found theory works and no-one is hurt in the process, there is nothing wrong with it and you can throw the guilt out of the window 🙂

    April 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    I’m all for – if it works for you then go for it. Glad to hear the eating is going better. May it continue to go from strength to strength.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply bratty37

    Believe it or not..but they say you have to offer your child a “buffet” like you are doing. Apparently it is good for their “pallet” to try different foods of their choice……I know nothing about feeding children so I bought a book (yes, I know..a book) but what you are doing is exactly what they tell you to do…
    I say, if she is eating, then thumbs up

    April 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm
  • Reply reluctantmom

    And we learn there are no rules when it comes to our kids.

    We learn we do what ever works for us, our kids and our house – and basically fk all the do-gooders who stand on the side lines with the lists of “what you really should do is …..” and the “books say you must ….”

    I do love humble pie, I eat chunks of it still ……

    April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm
  • Reply little29

    hi Sharon
    What you are doing is exactly right!! my cardinal rule is never ever get uptight about meal times and eating….. they pick up on your stress and the one thing you can’t do is force a child to eat… so no guilt needed – you are doing it perfectly and its working. especially now that your little trooper is on the go…..

    April 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm
  • Reply suestuart

    I think it’s perfectly fine! Although you say you are offering her a buffet, it seems to me more like you are offering her a balanced meal in finger food format rather than offering her an array from which to choose. My sister made the mistake of offering her son up to 4 different things at a time (eg breakfast – cereal then fruit puree then toast then a biscuit) until he ended up eating what he wanted – the biscuit. That caused her a lot of trouble getting him to eat any decent food.

    April 29, 2011 at 9:25 am
  • Reply Mash

    i love that! I think kids need to experience food like everything else in life, an adventure. I have some european friends and they have a little girl. I’ve always stared in fascination at how this child totally tucks in to her food. I wondered what her parents were doing differently! One day they came to our place and I had made a pasta. We all sat at the table, dad put a dish towel on her as a bib, and she climbed right in. She felt like she was “part” of the group I think, because we were all sitting together. Maybe it’s also because her parents don’t take any notice of whether she’s eating or not. AFter eating an almost adult sized portion, she proclaimed – Dad, finished! He took off the bib, wiped her face and the rest of her body, (totally covered in food) and she galloped off into the garden. I love your buffet idea, wish I could have a buffet like that put out for me every day!!!

    April 29, 2011 at 9:46 am
  • Reply orbit365

    I wouldn’t call it breaking the rules. I’d simply call it creating new ones that work well for you and your family. Actually I also have one kid that grazes so I totally get this. I think that we do whatever we need to do to survive. And that’s OK.

    April 30, 2011 at 11:52 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Oh good heavens! I thought it was something REALLY bad! LOL! Nothing wrong with that, in my books.
    I have broken quite a few of my pre-parent rules too. Show me someone who hasn’t broken at least ONE.

    May 2, 2011 at 7:06 am
  • Reply Tanya Kovarsky

    Great post. I’m defs going to “borrow” the title. Glad the feeding is going better…

    May 3, 2011 at 11:52 am
  • Reply maggsbunny

    I LOVED this post! 🙂 Buffet, how excellent. I’m totally in the smug non-parent category (only on the inside, though, lol) I’m starting to learn however, that the best laid plans don’t always work on the little critters, and at the end of the day, it’s about what works for you and your child, not public opinion. I will definitely remember about the ‘buffet’ when I have a critter of my own one day. Thanks, Sharon. (By the way, you write so well. Always a pleasure to read what you have to say).

    May 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm
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