Monday, May 18, 2009

Feeding Blaine

Blaine is as strong-willed a person as I've ever met. It is essential that everything be his idea. For example, after months of ignoring our encouragement to use the toilet instead of his diaper, one morning Blaine came down the stairs and announced that he had gone to the bathroom. That day he put on underwear in place of his diaper, and never looked back.

I am slowly learning how to choose my battles with Blaine, and say "yes" to his wishes whenever I can. I think it is so important for children to feel that their agency and will are important. I want him to feel autonomous. But, at the same time, there are certain things he has to comply with, like not crossing the street unattended. So again, I choose my battles.

One battle we've been fighting for 2 years is the food battle. Blaine would survive on milk if you let him. A lot of days he's totally uninterested in food. Most mornings when he wakes up I can't even get him to eat breakfast. (Weird, huh?) The other weird thing is that he's not picky about what he eats. He loves shrimp, loves tofu, loves sushi--lots of things we don't consider "kid food" (which mentality I think we all need to get away from--but that's another blog post). So it's not a picky food issue, it's an issue of eating versus not eating. I mean, shoot, we went to Puck's Donuts last Saturday and he did not eat ONE bite of his donut. How weird is this kid?!

I'm trying to remember that he likes things to be his idea, so, as you've seen, sometimes I just let him go to town on a brick of cheese or a carton of sour cream, if it strikes his fancy. Maybe a little unorthodox, but hey, the kid needs calories. The problem remains however, that my son needs all the nutrients in that blessed little food pyramid, and it can be a real challenge to make that happen everyday.

So my sister-in-law, Melissa, found this little chart in a magazine (didn't you know that all my good ideas come from magazines?) and clipped it out for me to try it with Blaine. It's pretty basic--it's a little grid with each day of the week and a list of foods to eat. Blaine gets a sticker each day for eating fruit, vegetables, meat, grains, and milk. Plus he earns a sticker if he tries something new and another one for playing for 30 minutes (that one's not hard!). We're only 1 day into it, and I can't tell yet if the stickers are really motivating him, but he is excited about it, and it's a good reminder to me of the food groups he still needs to complete. Plus it has inspired several great conversations about what healthy foods are, and why our bodies need certain things.

My question to you is--do you have any other good suggestions for how to get a child to eat? Your help is much appreciated.


Sugar... said...

Oh man, Anne, I feel your pain, but I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum. My kids ask me for food ALL DAY LONG, and the problem is that Cole and William are super picky eaters. Cole like cheese, sandwiches, and crackers. That about sums it up. I wish I had some good advice for you, and I wish my boys would eat sushi and shrimp like Blaine!

Joan said...

He is SO normal, Anne. Kids go through phases and Jimmmie just so happens to be in the same one Blaine is in IE: "I don't give a crap about food, thank you very much."
I often find myself feeding Jimmie myself and I say, "Okay, I will count. Ten big bites and then we can have a treat (or watch a cartoon on youtube or play trains or...)"
I am all about the bribery. It also helps if you sit with them and eat too...I some times use eating time as time for mom to get stuff done time. It really should be an enjoyable sit down experience.
Hope that helps :) Best of luck to you, dear.

Megan said...

I have no helps either...sometimes my little one gets his calories when he shares a bowl of ice cream with me even though he didn't feel like eating dinner or even something else i tried to give him right before the ice cream. My only question is, do you offer options for food to eat? Like..okay its breakfast! What cereal do you want? Or today mom will make you anything you want for breakfast..what'll it be? does that work? or is his disinterest in food...or desire to make his own decisions overpower things like that?

Alicia said...

My friend left me this suggestion on my blog-get a muffin tin and put something different in each cup. I think the novelty of eating out of something different helps. Also he can choose what he eats out of like 6 options. Elinor is only interested in eating if she can dip. Dip anything really. Ketchup is her favorite, but she also likes barbecue sauce, ranch, butter, sour cream (a close second to ketchup). Is he more interested in eating if he helps make it? That might help. Elinor always asks for food but never eats it!

Jill said...

I think mine is pretty much self explanatory. Load your house with processed junk food and label a cupboard, "Treat cupboard." Then tell Blaine to go to town! Works like a charm at my home for my big (b) and little (a,e,s,e) kids.