Tuesday, March 25, 2008

If She Could Read And Write (And We Communicated Through Letters)

Dear Mommy,

I'm really hungry. I want a snack, okay? Umm, some cheese cubes and crackers, please.

Love, Maddie

Dear Maddie,

No. When I asked you what you wanted for lunch today, you told me a peanut butter sandwich. That's what I fixed you. You didn't eat it. Our new rules are if you don't eat a meal, you don't get a snack an hour later. You will wait until the next meal to eat. I hope you remember this tomorrow, at lunch.

Love, Mommy


I'm so, so, so, so hungry. Please feed me. I learned my lesson. I promise.

Your starving child, Maddie


I'm glad you learned your lesson. No food until dinner. That's after I leave to go to work in an hour. Daddy will fix you what you want.

Your guilt ridden Mommy


I think you should go to work early today.



I'm outta here. Tell Daddy what you want.


I hate enforcing new rules. Especially when they involve withholding food. But, dang, I don't really know what else to do. She will tell us what she wants, doesn't eat, then wants a snack. The cycle starts again because, then, she doesn't eat dinner.

I'm so open to suggestions.

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MommyTime said...

We have done exactly this. They don't eat the dinner I've fixed? There's nothing else till tomorrow, except for a glass of milk. I am most vigilant about this when (a) he's requested something that I've fixed, and then he changes his mind; (b) I've fixed food for all of us to sit down together and I know that the foods are ones he likes.

I try hard not to fix different dinners for the kids and for us, but there are times when they need to eat earlier, or we're eating spicy Indian curry or something else they really can't eat, so they do get something else. But I try to make sure that even if the main dish is different, we're all eating the same veg and fruit, or whatever, in order to indicate that this is a family meal. Then, if they choose not to eat it, tough rocks. This may not sound nice, but it has worked.

Sometimes I do find that one of them is actually are not hungry at mealtime, which is fine. But our rule is that you have to eat what was served for lunch/dinner later, if you get hungry. This eliminates the "I'm not hungry now for broccoli and meatballs, but I am hungry for granola bar in 45 minutes."

Also, I am completely willing to give the alternate food as a second course, once the proper meal has already been eaten. This also works for junk food. (Son thinks Cheetos are dessert, for example.) So, if he eats his meat and veg at dinner, and then wants cheese, that's fine. Or, if he gets 1/2way through his carrots, I'll give him an applesauce on the promise that he'll also finish his carrots. He is very good with these kinds of deals, I think because he likes the idea that we are making a pact.

Sorry to write so much. All of this is by way of saying that I think you are doing exactly the right thing, even though it's hard, and that after a couple of days of sticking to the rule, I found it gets much much easier. Hang in there!

Irene said...

Boy, I wish I had words of wisdom. My 2 yo is a terrible eater. She does the same exact thing.

Mommy I want somefing to eat!

What do you want?

Ummmmm, cereal.

I give her cereal, she doesn't eat it, 10 minutes later:

Mommy, I want somefing to eat.

The only thing that occasionally works is just leaving her food out on her little table in the family room. If I just keep saying "finish your cereal (or whatever it is) then you can have something else". And sometimes, evenutally, the food is finally gone. Yesterday she had a waffle sit out from 7:30 until noon when she finally finished it. Cereal doesn't obviously last as long.

I don't want her to grow up, but I look forward to the days when she completely understands what "eat this or nothing" really means and doesn't result in temper tantrums.

Adrienne and Jim said...


We have to keep Owen on a "food schedule" because he would eat all day if we let him! He eats breakfast at 8:00, gets a snack at 9:30, eats lunch at 11 or 11:30, eats a snack at 2:30 or 3:00, and eats dinner at 5:30. He constantly goes to the pantry and asks for snacks, and I have to keep telling him "It's not snack time. We'll have snack later." I give him choices when we do have meals/snacks. "Do you want x or y?," and those are his only choices. I try to make sure I always have a "preferred food" on the table too (e.g., oranges or yogurt) to coax Owen to eat his meal to get more of the dessert if he doesn't really want to eat the main meal.

I say stick to your guns and it will work. :O)

Amy said...

You are handling it perfectly. Stick to your guns. She's a smart girl and will learn.

Lady P said...

Oh vey, you've entered that tricky path of finicky snackers. There are a few ways to approach it as evidenced by the comments. One is to keep her lunch and present it to her each time she asks to eat. When she is hungry enough she will eat what was given to her.

Have a set meal and snack time as the one comment said. That way she will not have to wait an extraordinary long time to eat.

Whatever you do, do it calmly and without fuss. Food is one battle that can turn into something ugly later on...and if it becomes a battle then you will lose. On a happier note, kids somehow get enough into their bodies by grazing as my pediatrician told me years ago. If your child is acting healthy, looks healthy, etc, then don't worry about quantity of food. Enough is getting in there.

noble pig said...

Oh God, I've done this and caved in every time, but I'm pathetic.

Jenni said...

It's so hard not to cave! But it only took one time with my oldest. Now he eats everything!

BookMomma said...

You are awesome for sticking to your guns! Keep it up... she's a smart girl and it won't take her long to catch on.

girlymom4 said...

I totally agree with what you are doing! We do the same thing, but yep, it's hard!!! Just stick with it!

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