Every day my husband and I battle with our son to eat. In general, the only meal he is really a problem with is dinner, although he has been known to be difficult at lunch once in awhile too.
And it’s not even MY cooking he’s complaining about, that would be understandable most of the time. Lucky for him (but not necessarily for my waistline), my husband does the cooking and is good at.
Last night, he took chicken breasts, covered them with mozzarella cheese in an alfredo and marinara sauce and baked it then served it over spaghetti noodles. It was great! We had a warm loaf of multi-grain bread with it (from Schwans) and the kid even lucked out because he forgot to make a vegetable to go with it.
My two year old daughter ate almost two platefuls yet my six year old son flat-out refused to eat. Well, he picked at it for a bit, we all finished eating and started cleaning up and then the complaining began.
“Mommy, I have a tummy ache.“
(He says that every time, and it’s funny how if I offer him ice cream or cookies instead, he all of a sudden feels better.)
“Mommy, I don’t like this food.“
(I ate it, it was good, and I am the first to let the kid off the hook if something isn’t very good.)
“Mommy this tastes like yuck.“
(Clearly he is grasping..)
“Wah wah…I can’t eat this. Waaaaaaah.“
(This is where the dog started whining every time my son did. Let me just say I’m lucky my back was turned because it was FUNNY.)
“Wah wah…I can’t eat this mommy, it tastes like garbage. Waaaaah.“
(echo whine from the dog)
“This food tastes like pee.“
(You can laugh, I did)
“I’m tired mommy, I’ll eat this food tomorrow.“
(I’m just not that gullible, and newsflash – I LIVE WITH YOU and AM ON TO YOU.)
“This food tastes like paper, I can’t eat this.“
(Paper is a big step up from pee.)
In between all this, he kept saying he had to go to the bathroom. Well, this is an old game with him and he is not allowed to leave the table, even to go to the bathroom. I let him go once, because the look on his face said he really had to go, but that’s it.
So he sat there.
For three hours.
We put Abby to bed and went downstairs leaving Jake at the table, checking on him every so often.
He did finally finish eating and miraculously his tummy no longer hurt and he was no longer tired. And funny, he didn’t make a mad rush to the bathroom either.
There was nothing weird in the food. No chunks, no onions, nothing green or unidentifiable.
He does not snack during the day very much at all. I think he had some pretzels around 1:30.
The two year old eats what we eat, so it’s not like she gets something different and he wants to be like her.
He behaves this way even when he is allowed to choose what we eat.
So what do we do?
My gut says just not to feed him dinner anymore, but that’s just exasperation talking. I am pretty sure it is bad parenting to not feed your kid.