Thursday, 24 January 2013

Food (and kids)

Forget that last post about laughing. I do not feel like laughing very much at all today.

It goes something like this:

"What would you like for breakfast, P?" I bounce down the stairs joyous that another day has begun (OK, I exaggerated a little)

"Pops!" says P quite positively.

So I pour out a really small, just-about-acceptable-bowl of rice crispies.

"I hate pops!" says P and very dramatically puts head in her folded arms and refuses to eat them.

I gently remind her that she asked for pops, and that she loves pops and that we need to eat our breakfast to grow, so that we become big and strong - and so we don't feel hungry in school. I can see all you parents of small people nodding out there, yes I know it's happened to you to.

But this happens every single meal time. I mean every single, sodding meal time.

"You'll lose special Mummy time" I threaten (we go out on Thursdays for cake when A is at choir)
"You'll be hungry in school, " I remind her.
"Please eat your pops, I'll be so proud of you!" I plead.
"I'll give you a sticker!" I bribe.
"Chocolate? I'll give you chocolate if you eat your pops!" I bribe even further.
"Now look how sad Mummy is!"  *fakes cry*
" EAT YOUR F***ING POPS!" I know, it just popped out, pardon the pun.
"Now look what you made me say," I said feeling awful and then trying to blame her.

What a terrible parent I am.

So after school drop off, I examined my behaviour, talked it through with a friend and came up with some lovely peaceful solutions.

I pick up P today and it goes something like this:

"I'm hungry," whined P.

"Well, lets go home and have some fruit and I will cook your dinner really early," I say in my calmest, nicest, nurturing voice.

"I want cake! I want Thrilling Thursdays!" she squealed, referring to our Thursday cake time.

"No P, remember you can't have special cake and Mummy time because you didn't eat your breakfast," I said calmly but starting to bubble up inside.

"I WANT CAKE!" she shouted in full view of other parents.

So I walk ahead of her, disowning her, drawing in a nice, big, restorative breath.

"OK darling, hop into the car!" I spoke fairly jovially.

"I'm hungrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyy," moaned P. You know, in that really brain-grating whine.

"I know darling, I'll get you a little snack before I start dinner," I replied.

Breathe. I gave her a packet of mini-cheddar's. She broke me, she saw them in the bread bin and refused fruit from there on.

And at dinner, you guessed it.

"I hate salmon, I'm not hungry, I want mayonnaise....." the noise was breathtakingly loud.

So I left her screaming, can you hear her? No? Just bend in a little closer to your screen. There, told you it was loud. That's my daughters meal time wail.

Every single sodding time. Parenting answers in the box below please.


  1. I have decided to 'star' the swear word in this post as I am gutted to have sworn at my 4 year old, albeit slightly under my breath.

    Good news is she ate her breakfast today, 2 weetabix, but that's P for you - you never can tell what she's going to do!

  2. Yep, I've got one of them. My youngest. She is a terrible meal time moaner. I still sometimes resort to feeding her her food(age 5). She has always been a difficult eater right from weaning and I suspect I over compensated, allowing her snacks etc to keep her going. Vicious circle I know. My latest gambit is to insist she has school dinners, we are making a bit of headway, but I do feel a bit bad handing it over to school to deal with. She's had 'trying new food'charts, me being hard mum and not allowing her anything else until she eats her meal (can never keep it up for more than a couple of mealtimes in a row, just too stressful) but in the end I just have to reassure myself she is a happy, healthy girl and although her diet is limited in terms of variety, it does contain all the food groups etc. - oh and earplugs of course.

  3. I really have tried everything too, and I don't want to be the tyrant at every meal time, it's just so draining and unhappy.

    But like yourself, I am not alone - I have had so many stories of terrible eaters from this post!

    Hope you are well and gearing up to camp...xx

  4. Oh I share your pain. The way I got through it with my daughter was to simply keep saying that she was fine and thriving and if she didn't want to eat that was her decision. I decided that she wouldn't actually starve herself out of sheer bloodymindedness, nor was I going to pander to her whims, so I just carried on putting food on the table and if she didn't eat it, tough. I also worried that if I carried on reacting like I was, it would turn food into a real issue which I am desperate to avoid It's so hard to keep that calm cheerfulness going, and I know I snapped lots of times, but I do think it was the best thing to do. She's much much better now (broad bean and bacon risotto notwithstanding). I am sure your daughter will get over it too.

  5. Thanks for the support! Yes my daughter is well and thriving and I am also concious about creating an issue around food.

    Am trying so hard to be 'cheerful and calm' but boy they can push me right to the edge...

    Have a great week x

  6. I have 4 kids and they never all eat a meal happily. Someone always dislikes something.
    I've learnt to always make something that I know they will eat, never to make a fuss, let them make a sarnie or have fruit if they won't eat what I've cooked and yes, I still let them have pudding( yoghurt) even if they don't eat dinner.
    I know it's frustrating but try not to take it personally.

  7. Thank you Jacq, it's all been a whole lot easier this week, doing just that - making food she likes. But she refused point blank on Thursday and sat down with us and ate an apple instead. Hey ho.