I was having one of those nights.
My son pushed his plate away and my daughter wouldn’t even look at hers. They were that revolted by what I had made for dinner.
Once again, I had researched ideas (by Googling terms like ‘toddler dinner ideas’ and ‘food toddlers won’t throw on the floor’), bought the necessary ingredients, and prepared what actually looked quite appetizing.
And once again, like Charlie Brown lining up to kick the football, it was pulled out at the last minute, and I fell to the ground, feeling like a fool.
This time was supposed to be different, I thought. I had read an article by a mom whose toddler always gobbled up the vegetables and whole grains he was given for dinner. She even said something smug like, ‘He eats his vegetables because that’s what I present to him. There are no boxed foods in my house.’
Well, we have them in my house. I don’t have a greenhouse where I grow organic vegetables year-round, or the time to roll out homemade whole grain pasta. What I have are two strong-willed children who will occasionally indulge me by eating nutritious foods, but who seem to prefer Spaghettio’s and Goldfish.
Most of the time, I can live with that. I still offer them foods like turkey meatballs and cauliflower mac and cheese (most of which I eat myself), but I’ve accepted the fact that boxed and canned foods are a standing order on my shopping trips.
But on this particular day, I wasn’t having it. And the more they rejected my food, the more frustrated I became. So after giving in and breaking open a box of Annie’s mac and cheese, I went to the computer. This time, however, I wasn’t going to visit an ‘organic supermom’ blog or ‘moms against pretzels.’ I didn’t need any more guilt about the food I was serving.
This time, I reached out for support. I logged into Facebook and sent out a signal for help. This was my message:
Okay, fellow parents of young children. I had a meltdown yesterday b/c I’m convinced my kids don’t want to eat anything that doesn’t come from a box/can/jar (and I don’t mean a jar of homemade organic food). Any encouragement/advice would really be appreciated!
The response was overwhelming. And what’s interesting is that they all seemed to fall into one of three categories: tactics that have worked, sympathy from those in the same boat, and just plain encouragement.
Below are some samples:
Present new foods when they are really hungry
Same problem here! One day I got fed up and put yogurt, milk, banana and spinach into a blender and made a smoothie. She drank it down so fast!
We’re still having this issue with Logan. Telling him he can have a little treat if he eats most of what’s on his plate has helped a lot in getting him to eat what everyone else is having for dinner. Either way, he has to have at least one bite of everything on the plate.
- U Are NOT alone!!!
- I’m in the same boat! If you get it figured out PLEASE give me the secret!
- A word from a Mom that could not get her oldest to eat anything except cheerios (dry, in a bowl) and grilled cheese with the crust cut off dipped in glorious ketchup (counted as a veggie)… they’ll be fine. Sorry though, it is very frustrating.
- Most kids go thru picky stages and will start to “come around” when they are in kindergarten
- I’ve learned that every stage will pass… Hang in there
And finally, there was this one, which was beyond encouraging — it was like getting a hug.
You’re a great Mom, they are adorable, healthy & happy. Don’t sweat it.
It was just what I needed. And I found that because I was willing to put myself out there and ask for help, I learned some new strategies, and perhaps more importantly, gained assurance that other parents go through the same thing — even my friend Kelly, a nutritionist who I can imagine cringes at what her son chooses to eat.
This exact theme came up during my recent interview with Chris Belmont, CIO at MD Anderson Cancer Center, when I asked him about the value of networking. He said that learning from colleagues and “trying to avoid some of the speed bumps is the best way to go. If nothing else, it’s very supportive and validating, so when you call them they’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s going to happen to you.’”
Belmont related a story from his time at Ochsner Health System when the organization’s first Epic go-live wasn’t going very smoothly. So he reached out to a colleague with Epic experience who sympathized, telling him, “Chris, the first one’s pretty bad. In fact, it took us nine months to get out of there.’”
It was exactly what Belmont needed. He didn’t need to hear from model Epic rock stars that were in optimization mode. He needed encouragement from someone who had been there.
I know I sure did.