For the last 3.5 years we’ve had to “struggle” with getting our son to eat. I’ve always offered a variety of foods and when he wants foods he usually asks for healthy options (though from his perspective he knows no different). We do have marshmallows and a few other sweets in the house, but for the most part he will ask for bananas, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon. Veggies are not his favorite, but we’re working on it (I should say I’m working on it, because Mr. Man Cold is convinced that the meat is more important and I’m the one who’s responsible for about 90% of the foods he eats). My son is not a fan of “combined” foods and will pick everything apart and claim it’s gross before he’s even tried anything, relatively normal for this age, I’ve been told.
Mr. MC’s approach is very old school (basically punishment for not eating), however the threats don’t work well on my son (they may have initial impact, but often present themselves later, nightmares or accidents in his pants (mostly number 2, but recently number 1 as well)). Mr. MC, tonight, was in rare form and the threat did not go over well with me. So what did I do, to get my son to eat… Why, airplane, of course. Did I make myself look like an ass? Probably, but I managed to get him to eat most of his dinner and he was happy while doing it.
I don’t want my kids having an unhealthy relationship with food and certainly don’t want them to have horrible memories, like Mr. MC has, about sitting at the table for hours on end, because he didn’t want to eat something his mother made. There are certainly more foods my husband refuses to eat, than ones that he’s willing to eat and I honestly believe the way he was forced to eat impacted that greatly. I don’t ever remember being told to finish the food on my plate and if I didn’t want to eat, that was okay, but my mother wouldn’t make a separate meal for me either and when I was old enough I could make my own food. At four he’s certainly not able to, but I find it worthwhile to allow him to trust his instincts on when he wants to eat or not, barring any food aversions. He always gets hungry at some point and then he can eat what’s been made for his most recent meal.
I’m sure there will come a day when we’ll be spending an insane amount of money to keep the fridge stocked for a hungry teenager, but for now he seems to subsisting on the quantities he does manage to eat. I’ll forever be concerned that he’s not eating enough or the right thing, but he’s growing, he’s healthy, and he’s pretty darn adorable and sweet.