It took my 5 year old 50 minutes to eat dinner last night…50 minutes to eat two chicken nuggets, bread, and 2 carrots.
My 3 year old was slightly faster.
We implemented a new rule. No one gets up from the table until everyone is done eating. So, the time it takes her to eat affects the whole family.
Since this rule, her eating time has slowed from turtle to snail to pace. ( I don’t know, snails seem slower.)
My husband got home 15 minutes after we started dinner and he was done sooner. I even fed myself and the baby in under 30 minutes.
It was almost 7:00 pm by the time we were done. Bath time is about 7:20 pm.
Trust me, this is not a brand new issue. When she was younger we use to time her until it started to give her anxiety and she would throw a tantrum. She was traumatized and now freaks out anytime a timer is involved in a situation. I don’t see her running track in the future.
I honestly think for her, mealtime is social time. It’s the only time where she may feel the full attention of her parents, especially if dad is home from work.
This is her time to tell us hilarious jokes and regale us with elaborate stories. This is also a good time for her to show her dad how high she can jump.
She becomes the biggest helper during dinner as well. Any napkin, condiment or drink forgotten, she is on it.
This, combined with her actual issues with food can cause me to go comepletely bonkers after a long day.
You may have also noticed how I described her meal. Chicken nuggets, a few carrots, bread. My 3 year old will only eat pizza or a tortilla, she refuses veggies but will eat fruit.
I’ve read all the articles, tried smoothies and making them take at least one bite of something new each mealtime, but it always ends in tears and yelling (from all of us).
I had to stop trying because dinner was becoming so awful. I am tired by this time and just really don’t have the energy to fight them.
My oldest has always been an difficult eater, even from birth. Nursing was hard, introducing foods was hard, finding foods she would eat through the years was hard.
My 3 year old however was great. Nursed like a champ, ate everything I introduced at 6 months from all veggies to quinoa. Once she hit that two year old mark, it was over. There was no turning back for her.
My husband and I are pretty conscious about food and health right now and we often discuss pulling the trigger and making them eat what we do. But, at the end of the day, I’m tired and cringe when I imagine the fight it will cause.
But yet, my oldest is 5. She needs to learn to eat other foods. We don’t even bother to go to restaurants knowing that we will order food for the girls and they will refuse to eat. The chicken nuggets won’t be right, the pizza isn’t the same as at home. My oldest doesn’t like French fries and that’s all my youngest will eat.
A friend of mine is living out of the country right now. She has younger kids as well and blogs about their family’s awesome adventures. She mentioned in a post going to eat tapas when they were in Spain. I almost laughed out loud when I read this. For us, just the thought of being at a restaurant that wasn’t Chick-Fil-A and having my kids try anything new was a crazy thought.
I know I’m not the only parent that struggles with this issue. I am also lucky because they at least eat several fruits a day and we don’t give them a lot of desserts and candy. My oldest loves milk and carrots and she will eat certain meats… (By that I mean, chicken nuggets, meatballs and breakfast sausages).
I don’t want her to live her life refusing to try new foods or new things for that matter. At this point I really don’t know what to do. Do we leave it alone and eventually they will come around or do we show some tough love and get ready for the fight?
We are at a cross roads right now and just don’t know which path to choose.