Monday, May 09, 2011


I find food and small children quite, quite frustrating.

Both our girls were really good when small, up to the age of about 2 1/2 I would say. They would pretty much eat anything in front of them. Then they got fussier and I got more weak willed and we've found ourselves where we are.

We've given them too much choice at times. I don't remember choice as a child, it was what it was, take it or leave it. I'm well aware that sometimes there is simply too much conversation on some things and food is one of the main ones.

So, last week the girls and I made a decision (or I made it and they agreed to go along with it). Every Monday night (the one night we don't have after school commitments) we three, the girls and I, will have family dinner together at the dining table (rather than me sitting watching them eat their dinner in the kitchen). I will eat with the girls but we will eat something new to them and they have to try it. We discussed what try means and I said that I wouldn't make anything I knew they would dislike, but it would be things new to them. I would therefore expect them to eat as much of it as they liked, but give it a red hot go.

So tonight we had macaroni cheese with bacon in it. It's not a complicated dish, but the girls aren't good with sauces, so this was a way of introducing them to something different. My rationale - you like butter, you like flour, you like cheese, you like milk? Yes, well then you like cheese sauce.

Was it successful? Well they didn't complain and they ate a very small amount without fuss. I have to be in a very patient mindset, very accepting and encouraging and not exhausted. We'll persevere because honestly, we have to move more towards shared meals as they get older, so the groundwork has to go in now.

I know I could argue that dessert shouldn't figure in the scheme of this new arrangement, but honestly, I'm trying to coax them, and if a little cheats apple tart helps them on their way, I'm all for it.


Sarah said...

ahhh the challenges of being a parent...

I am proud they gave tonight a go. No complaints etc... they followed their share of the bargain - horrah!

Unknown said...

I don't recall my Mum *ever* cooking seperate meals for us kids yet I do it every night. I dream of the day when I just cook something up and everyone eats it but until my middle child grows out of his sensory issues (I hope) and my youngest child accepts that breast isn't always best (she is 17 months old) it won't happen. I'm glad your girls did attempt to taste the food you made them, even if they didn't finish it off. The dinner time battle is not one we should give up on completely but it is hard to face it night after night.

Bianca said...

oh yum, I'd eat anything to get a slice of that tart ;)

in our house we had to eat whatever was cooked for the family, no separate meals and we had to sit at the table for as long as it took... or go to bed without food. It was pretty strict, but it worked :) and I'm not complaining now.

Sandy said...

It sounds like a lovely compromise. My children can be the same way, so I share in your frustrations as well. Mommy and Daddy love to eat, so I think it will rub off on the kids one of these days!! By the way, Tyler and Chloe would have wolfed down that mac n' cheese with bacon in 5 seconds flat. They love cheese sauce!

Angie said...

I hear you! I do remember not liking some of what we were served as kids (especially growing up on a farm where there was always a glut of something that seemed to last forever) but I do recall it was what mum had cooked or nothing.

I'm leaving this comment so late in the evening after my baby (who did not eat much at dinner) woke at 1:30am hungry. I've given him a weetbix and he's gone back to sleep leaving me wide awake!

Ahh, the joy of it all.

bec said...

They will never starve themselves. remember this. And yep, definatly too much discussion around it. But it all comes down to your style of parenitng, you are going to be criticised for whatever you try. Mine doesn't get dessert if she doesn't eat her dinner. We all do what works for us!

Soo said...

Good on you, I'm sure all the effort will pay off, I'm hoping my fussy little eater will try more new dishes too!
The apple tart looks so yum!