So, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (probably only 57 billion times), but Roo has been on strike.
Strike against any food group that did not include Monkeys (Coco Pops) Rain (Nutrigrain) or Weebik (Weetbix). Or peanut butter on toast.
For a long while I stressed about this development. Possibly a year.
And then one day I thought to myself:
Stuff it. Let her eat weetbix.
That was 6 months ago.
Since then, she has been existing on various wheat cereals and fruit. No veggies, no meat. Unless it included cheeseburgers or chicken nuggets from her beloved Big M.
This has not really been of particular concern to me because to be honest with you, by 5:30pm I am too tired to fight over, of all things, food. At least she’s eating, right?
Recently, though, I read something, somewhere (I seriously cannot remember, I am so sorry – if it was you, or you know what I’m talking about, please let me know so I can link to you).
It pointed out that it’s not a parent’s job to insist a child eats a healthy and varied diet. It is simply a parent’s job to provide the healthy and varied diet.
Whether the child eats said food depends on only one factor.
The truth is, we all have likes and dislikes, and our children can’t be expected to like the look, smell or taste of everything we put in front of them.
Not to mention that it is my personal opinion that toddlers especially, but children in general, use food and mealtimes as a way of exerting control over their own lives. In a big frown up world they really don’t have much choice or say in the day to day comings and goings. They can, however, choose what and when to eat.
With these two ideas combined, I had a brain-plosion. My brain started firing at a million miles an hour. I’m pretty sure it was like my own reenactment of the invention of sliced bread. Or possibly that moment of enlightenment Miranda feels when she finally understands the concept of: “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
Like a brilliant light has been shone down and I can finally see through a haze of arguments and flying food hitting a floor I resent mopping.
It is not my job to make sure Roo eats. It is only my job to provide the food I deem appropriate for her to eat. Whether she eats the food or not, its not my problem. I have handed her the reigns as soon as I place her plate in front of her.
What has resulted is that Roo Is no longer offered cereal for dinner. If she asks, the answer is no.
She is welcome to eat what the rest of us are eating, when the rest of us are eating.
No alternatives, no backing down.
We had two nights of screaming. I made chicken burgers from scratch the first and she ate the pineapple. After screaming for five minutes for weetbix. I made oven fish and veggies the second night. Roo completely refused to even touch her bowl.
The third night, After going to bed hungry two nights in a row, I made taco soup.
She didn’t even hesitate – she grabbed her spoon, tucked in and took a huge mouthful.
There was obviously applause.
She ate about half of her bowlful.
Last night (night 4) it was ravioli. She pushed her bowl away, asked for Monkeys and was refused.
No crying. No fighting. It was a miracle.
What’s even better, is that even though she’s not eating as much as she would if I put cereal in front of her, I know what she’s eating is good, healthy and wholesome.
And there is no more food guilt.
Let me repeat – no. more. food. guilt.
Do you struggle to get your kids to eat dinner? Do you reach for the weetbix box to save a fight? More importantly, how funny is it when Miranda tells that unsuspecting woman that her boyfriend is just not that into her??