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January 4, 2012 / Tara

Stay Strong It Really Works-Tales from The Table

How many times do we hear from parenting “experts” and pediatricians and the like to be consistent and firm in our rules and expectations of our children and they will get it eventually. How many times have I tried to be consistent and strong without giving in and end up more frustrated while my child wages the largest power struggle ever seen by mankind? (yeah that should probably say womankind huh?)

But a breakthrough has occurred! Let me back up a minute…

My five year old daughter went from being a pretty non-chalant eater to super picky. About 3 months ago she decided that she really likes turkey sandwiches. On white bread with nothing else. So when she brings lunch to school that is generally what she eats. However about a month ago, she began fighting me at every dinner and lunch and would refuse whatever we were having and beg for a turkey sandwich. Not wanting her to be hungry, I made the mistake of giving in once and then twice and whoops it became a habit.

So on our last visit to her nutritionist I mentioned how the only thing I can really get her to eat at mealtime is a turkey sandwich. The brilliant nutritionist advised me to require my daughter to eat a few bites of what we’re eating first and if she really decided she didn’t like it, then let her have the turkey sandwich. Mostly because she’s been losing weight and we don’t want her to limit her food choices even more because of her health issues.

I love our nutritionist but I was very skeptical thinking I was in for it later that night. I braced myself for the mommy and daughter power struggle. Then it came, the nerve wracking question she asked me every afternoon. “What’s for dinner?” I just about ducked behind the kitchen island when I responded “Roasted pork and potatoes and peas”. And in typical “her” fashion she launched in to her monologue about how she hates “that” and she wants a turkey sandwich. “No you’re going to have to have a few bites of pork first and if you really don’t like it, mommy will make you a turkey sandwich”, I fired back all the while thinking of how this night was going to suck now. “Noooooo!” she screamed and went into the chants of “turkey, turkey, turkey”.

Now I exaggerate a little here but if you have young children, you know how these battles go.

After a trip to the “naughty step” and a few deep breathing exercises for mommy, I sat her at the table with her plate of pork, potatoes and peas. “I need ketchup please,” she said with a little bit of a pout still. I think she figured if I gave her ketchup, she still won. Ha! Sugar free ketchup-you lose.  Sure in my own head I won that mini-battle at least.

And she managed to eat three bites of each thing on her plate before she asked for a turkey sandwich instead which I gladly gave her.

The next night, she sat down at the table with us and didn’t even fuss about what she was served. No requests for turkey either. “It can’t be this easy,” I thought to myself. Yet the next night we had barbecue ribs and she engrossed herself in eating and asked for seconds (albeit with some ketchup). It seemed my picky eater was at least branching out a little.

Now if only I could get her to eat a fruit besides strawberries!



Leave a Comment
  1. shoes / Jan 13 2012 7:52 pm

    Wow! Good for you. I may have to try this with my picky eater three and five year olds. We usually let them eat a banana for dinner if they don’t like what is served but the problem is they mostly don’t even try the dinner. I am getting sick of cooking nice meals for just Husband and I (doesn’t that sound awful?)

    • stolimartinimom / Jan 13 2012 8:09 pm

      Hi there! I totally understand that. My oldest daughter (18 today) is pretty picky too but that came later in life. She was a pretty good eater when she was younger. And honestly, I thought my younger dd would not go for it but she has fallen into it pretty easily. Sometimes she eats the whole meal and a few times she’s eaten a few bites and then wanted a sandwich. The other day I did let her and her sister have mac n cheese when I made stuffed peppers because I knew they weren’t eating that and I didn’t want to waste one on her. It is an evolving process I think.

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