Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lunch is a Battlefield

I knew this day would come. My adorable, fruit-and-vegetable-loving, sugar-shunning, adventurous eater of a child was destined to turn into a food-loathing, impossible-to-feed crankypants at mealtime. I guess I thought I'd have just a little bit more time to prepare.

But it was like a switch flipped. One day, Westley was happily eating all manner of healthy and delicious things. I just had to plop him in his high-chair, spread some food out in front of him, and in 15 or 20 minutes, almost all of it would be gone.

Snacking on brown rice cakes and broccoli at Northgate Community Center. (Those were the days!)

Now, suddenly, all food is awful and unacceptable and "Waa! Waa! Why in God's name are you making me sit in this high-chair, you crazy bitch?! You're killing me! Waa!" At least, that's what it sounds like, when my efforts to put a delicious dinner on the table are met with shrieks of horror. Tofu, which he used to adore, is off the menu. So are the old stand-by favorites rice, peas, and mushrooms. Ever-popular bananas have become fruta non grata. The same goes for avocado and cucumber.

It's part of the whole "having a toddler" thing. I get that. Intellectually I know that he's not doing it on purpose to piss me off (he's not, is he?). And--most importantly--I know that I do not want to fight with him about food. Of that I am completely sure. But my first instinct when he's hollering at me across the lovely spread on his plate is to fight with him.

Which, of course, does nothing except make him cry and scream, which makes me want to cry and scream.

I'm completely confident that someday Westley will return to his produce-loving ways. That doesn't worry me (yet). I'm much more concerned about maintaining my sanity while I wait for Westley's hunger-strike-phase to pass. Because I'm freaking out here, when I'd much rather be cool as a...food my kid won't touch with a ten-foot pole.



menageriehouse.com said...

Whoa, baby, when toddlerhood hits, it just really kind of slams through your front window like a hurricane. I'm sure that's where all the shrieking comes from.

You are doing the right thing by remaining calm, because this food fussiness?? Can be a loooooong phase (as in, years long), and no one has that much energy. So try try to focus your attention elsewhere-he's obviously healthy or he couldn't protest with such determination.

I've heard a theory that picky eating was a great evolutionary adaption back in cave-baby days where a new-to-wandering-away-from-Mama toddler could potentially pick up some tasty-looking but deadly berry or mushroom before Mama caught on to the problem. It makes as much sense as anything else to me since they all do it in all cultures, and they all come out OK in the end.

Just keep offering nutritious food in small portions so you don't feel so badly about it going to waste. It will be fine in the end, truly it will, and in the meantime I'm sending some calm Mama vibes your way....


Carrie said...

I hear you on this. I have a 2-year-old who is in the 2nd percentile for weight and he HATES to eat. And the few things that he will tolerate change almost daily, so it's a rare meal that doesn't leave one or both of us in tears. I hope your son snaps out of it soon! Until then, you have your blog to vent in. :)