Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why eat when you can squish it?!!

I hate meal time.
No seriously. I do. My child has quickly become the pickiest eater on the planet.
I get it...I don't like to eat food that doesn't interest me either. But I don't then proceed to pick up the food and throw it all on the floor or, worse, purposefully put the food under my bum and SIT on it.
My son has an obsession with squishing food. Mostly with the foods he doesn't want to eat...but sometimes with the few foods I can actually expect him to eat.
I think it's because he'd prefer everything to come in a pureed consistency. But I mean, come on. My son currently has 10 teeth with 2 more coming in up top. He is perfectly capable of eating a proper meal, and has on rare occasion. How long should I have to give him fruits and veggies through blenderized spoonfuls? And how I wish I could just put down the bowl and spoon and let him explore feeding himself...but every time I've tried this...we end up with a bowl on our head and a guaranteed immediate trip to the bath tub. I don't have that kind of time...

So if I want him to eat I must either give him freeze dried yogurt bites, blueberries and beans or spoon feed him yogurt and pureed fruits and veggies which also end up decorating the floors and clothing of everyone in our household.

And then there is the fact that my son is clearly a vegetarian...he can't stand meat. Even when I offer him chili he will take in the spoonful eat everything else but spit out the ground turkey meat. I've tried deli meats, ground turkey and beef, beef hot dogs, popcorn chicken you name it....he refuses to touch the stuff. The ironic thing is...he'll EAT a veggie corndog, but not a real corndog. It's like he honestly detests the flavor. In fact he even turns away soups with chicken broth. So in seeking alternative proteins he occasionally accepts peanut butter spoons, hummus, yogurt (but never cheese), sometimes milk and of course the beloved bean.

Beyond those foods Gunnar will occasionally eat sweet potato fries, peas and the rare banana or cracker. But generally eating...REALLY eating takes a back seat to squishing, throwing and sitting on our favorite foods. I'm at a loss of what to do. I've tried taking away the food when he throws it...but 10 minutes later he'll sign "eat" and we sit him down to do it all over him "eat" must mean "play with my food." But even when he really is eating...he's dropping food on the ground with his other hand or squishing it with his bum or smearing it in his hair.

Today after Gunnar threw all of his apples on the floor he asked for "more" I offered him an apple from the floor. For some reason that didn't go over too well. 

I hate wasting food. I hate picking up squished food.
I need a TODDLER/FOOD intervention...HELP!

1 comment:

  1. All I have by way of advice is that I actually keep the food with me and give him individual pieces of apple, or whatever it is. If he's not throwing it around, I'll give him a few on his tray to choose from. But also, that may only be possible because his high chair sits on one of our kitchen chairs at the kitchen table, so I'm seated next to him.

    Also, he's only within the past month really been able to feed himself with a spoon. I do let him try that a bit if it's not a food that will stain and if it's thick enough - we do it every morning with his oatmeal. It is messy and I have to have my own spoon so that he can actually get enough in. But I do keep the bowl on the tray that way. You might want to check out the bowl Baby Bjorn makes; it's harder for them to knock around.

    As to purees, have you tried the pouches that combine fruit and veggies? I can't go back to spoon-feeding purees; it's too messy and WAY too much work in comparison. I do try to do as much fresh or steamed "real" stuff as I can but if when M was G's age we used those at almost every lunch and dinner and we still today do 2-3 of them most weeks week.

    Last, I don't know if this would help with G, but with Matthew I end the meal right away if (1) he takes his bib off; or (2) he spits his food out after I warned him that "if he spits his food out, we will be all done"; or (3) same as 2 but for dropping food on the floor. He does get it, and he will stop the behavior if he wants to keep eating. He'll also continue it as a way of telling me he's "all done" since he's not a signer like G, and still not a talker! (Although currently he expresses "all done" by trying to get out of the chair). Anyway that was somewhat of a pain to instill, but I feel like it's been worth it. It took a LOT of stopping an entire meal, getting it all cleaned up, and trying again later so he wouldn't be too hungry. I did most of it when he was maybe 8 months with his bib, and he eventually caught on and stopped trying to take it off unless someone else was feeding him. Now it still works for the other listed behaviors; he knows we really will be "all done" if he does one of those after a warning.

    Anyway, good luck with your sweet little vegetarian!