Saturday, April 23, 2011

My biggest failure as a parent

Katie is ridiculously smart. I know everyone says their kids are smart and I believe that, but Katie is like, scary smart. It still surprises us every once in awhile.

She is 27 months old, potty trained (doesn't need anything at night even) and fully talking. I don't mean your typical 2 year old saying 300 words, I mean full on conversations - we rarely have a situation where we don't understand her.
She knows her alphabet, and numbers and colors and shapes and has awesome dexterity and cognitive skills and is starting to pretend play in ways I never expected for this age.

Some of that is luck and some of that is because I stayed home with her and we worked on all of these things very early on because she showed interest in them and loved books from the get go.

I take pride in all of this and try to remind myself that even though most of it is luck... some of it is us and our influence and time spent with her.

However, I have failed miserably as a parent in that Katie is a picky eater. And since she is fully talking, that makes it even more difficult because she tries to rationalize why she won't eat certain things.

Where I was super enthusiastic with teaching her things, I was just as lazy about dealing with forcing her to eat things. So for our own sanity and selfish reasons, we would just make her something that we knew she would eat so that we could have a partially quiet dinner. This went on for longer than we had planned for - and now we find ourselves with a 2 year old who doesn't eat what we eat and who we have to make a separate dinner for every night.

We had started making her eat with us a few weeks before we had Ben - and were making some progress - but that was short lived once he came home.

Now that we have the baby too, the thought of tantrums at the dinner table over food is just too daunting. It doesn't help that for the first 3 weeks he was home, we didn't really cook any dinners so by default she got chicken nuggets, peanut butter, fish sticks, etc... So, we where we had been making progress in the few weeks before Ben got here, we have totally reverted back to picky eater.

FAIL. Miserable Fail.

So, now we have to start over and commit to cooking more often and force her to eat normal food.

I'm not looking forward to it, but I know that we have to do it. I see lots of tears, screaming and time outs in our future.

How do you make sure your kids aren't picky? Do you let them go to sleep hungry? Do they wake up in the middle of the night wanting to eat?

I'm already feeling very negative about the whole thing, however I'm sick of having to make sure I have dinner for her.

At least I have learned from this and know how to AVOID this with Ben.



  1. let me add as a P.S. that she was an AWESOME eater as an infant... She ate every pureed food we gave her unless I pureed it myself - then she refused. She ate green beans, peas, prunes, mango, carrots, sweet potato - all of it except for meats...

  2. This comment is about Dinner since Breakfast and Lunch in our house is fairly casual and easy - Since Jake started eating solid table foods, we started having him sit with us at dinner every night. We all eat together every night and we all eat the same food (no making a meal and then a kid meal separately- if I needed to I would just tone his food down). He always has to try at least one of everything on his plate. We do a bit of bargaining by letting him bring one car or one train to the table for dinner. If he protests trying his dinner then we don't let him keep the toy at the table. Of course I'm sure there are things he just doesn't like (like I know right now he is anti-tomatoes, but there are things I don't like too, food wise so why should he be any different). It's not forcing them to eat, it's encouraging them to try everything. So many times Jake will be so against trying something (like, broccoli) and now he loves it. Also when he was younger and teething, I would let him gnaw on frozen fruit and now he loves any fruit that is frozen and usually if it's not frozen he will at least try it. I find that the more he sees us eat certain foods, the more he wants to eat them too.

  3. I have to say, I always feel like I am so strict in areas like this, but he really is a great eater and has great table manners. I hope at least some of that is because we have set boundaries. I don't see it as forcing them to eat things, it's more about encouraging them to try things they may not have realized they like.

  4. Nicolette Has to try what is put on her plate but you get what you get and thats it. If I make something new I will make something I know she like to go with it. I have realized that she goes in phases and will sometime love something I make and then the next time only eat a little of it. I also try to ask her if she would like broccoli or corn for example but what she picks she has to eat. I think that if you start now it can change and Katie will eat a lot more stuff. Good Luck!

  5. There are things that JC eats at daycare that he refuses to eat at home even though it's the exact same thing. We do the same thing as Katie- so separate meal and no separate meal time for JC. We bargin with dessert. He has to eat atleast 1/2 of everything item on his plate, unless I can tell he really doesn't like it.

  6. My girls are very picky. We got to a point when Halle hit around 4-5years, that we said this is dinner and if you don't eat it you go to bed hungry. My girls are on the tiny side so I didn't feel comfortable enforcing it before then. So it's her choice, but if she doesn't eat her dinner she doesn't get anything else. It's harder with Kiah (she was in the 4% for weight at her last dr appt), so I try to get her to try dinner and then if she doesn't eat much we'll give her a bowl of cereal before bed. To give you hope, Halle does like a LOT more now than she did a few years ago, and she has good enough manners to try different things at friends houses. I just try to load them up on the healthy things they do like, to make up for anything they're missing. :)

  7. Both of my daughters have and are good eaters. Lydia (my 5 yr old) has become a little picker as she got older but we stick with most of the parents in saying she has to at least try everything first. She is still a good veggie eater and often trades her cousin her meat for his veggies. Baye (my 16 month old) is a good eater as well but there is not much she does NOT eat. She has more of an appitite then Lydia. When Lydia was teething and now with Baye teething I have froze the fruits and even veggies (carrot sticks for example). Now there have been times when Lydia has gone to bed without dinner because my husband and I agreed that we would not do the seperate meals. We also do bargain with dessert (which releaves us most of the time from sending her w/out dinner). I know the sending hungry sounds awful, but it's one meal and I know she's not going to wither away, I just know that in the morning she will be hungry and want more breakfast then normal.