A Battle Over Food

Monday, March 6, 2017

When McKinley turned two, he got a nasty stomach bug and it forever changed the way he ate! Before that, he would eat anything we put in front of him. Eggs, turkey sausage, bacon, and oatmeal for breakfast. He lived on soups of any kind and we had to squeeze in pouches of fruits and veggies onto the spoon to ensure he was getting other nutrients with the soup. He ate cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken patties, pasta (especially cheese ravioli), and more. But that stomach bug changed everything and I sometimes wonder if he's starving!

Recently, he's been inquisitive when it comes to food. He still doesn't eat the same meals we do, he's way too picky for that, but he's asking what we're eating, what it tastes like, and from time to time trying it. Huge strides! He's started eating chicken nuggets again, lives on cheese pizza, turkey hot dogs, and finally going back to macaroni and cheese (something he ate day in and day out for about six months.) But last week things changed. He was barely eating breakfast and ignoring his lunch all together. I pack his lunch daily, he won't eat the school lunch unless it's hot dogs or chicken nuggets, and that's fine with me. It's cheaper and I can monitor just how much he actually eats. And, when he eats nothing at all.

Like last Thursday. He requested mac and cheese and that's what he got. Along with yogurt, applesauce, mini muffins, Veggie Straws, raisins, and Scooby Snacks. I like to give him a variety in case he only eats a little of this and a little of that. But on this day, he didn't touch the mac and cheese and simply ate the two mini muffins and a couple of Veggie Straws. I was livid, sad, and frustrated. Livid because he had just wasted food, my time, and hard earned money that pays for that food. Sad because he was starving after school but wouldn't dare tell me. And frustrated because I don't know how to get him to eat which will eventually make him strong and tall, right? I keep wondering how he's ever going to grow if he never eats! 

And because of all of this, I was tempted to not pack lunch the next day. If he wasn't going to eat it, why take the time to pack it. I mean, I run around like crazy trying to get breakfast to him and then lunch made before leaving for school. My morning is so rushed that it would be nice to take it easy for once. I even went so far to see what was on the menu for the next today, nachos that I knew he wouldn't eat, just to have an outlet. But then I thought, let him go without any lunch tomorrow and maybe he would be a little more grateful to have the food on Monday. But I caved and made lunch. How could I let my child starve? So we made a deal. He agree to eat his lunch because he told me he wouldn't like nachos from the school lunch, and I told him he couldn't throw anything away so I could see just how much he actually ate. If he didn't eat again, it was over. I wouldn't be packing his lunch going forward. He did eat and I felt relief, but today is a new day.

A new day but not an eating day..... Not much breakfast today. A tube of yogurt, a half of a banana, and a half a sausage link. What did I originally make him? Green eggs and ham, his request, to which he told me he was scared to eat it because what if it didn't taste the same as Mrs. Mellen's. He refused to eat it. He ate one cube of ham and one tiny bite of egg. That was it! Again, I walked away furious for spending the morning making something so specific and then wound up crying out of frustration. I think this mama is ready to go on strike or is in desperate need of a vacation. Either way, this battle over food is taking a major toll on my soul and I can't take it much longer.

Today he left with a hot dog, Veggie Straws, Dorito's (his request), yogurt, applesauce, and raisins. No mini muffins for him today. And no Scooby Snacks. He gets a simple meal so there are no distractions and I'm sure only half the hotdog will be eaten, the Dorito's will be gone, and maybe some of the straws. Or, it could come home just the way I packed it. And if you hear sobs coming from Overland Park, you will know that this mama has hit her breaking point. 

What do you do to get your child to eat? Do you even have a child that refuses to eat? A picky eater that won't anything? Or a child that eats everything you give them without a fight? What would that would be like? I'm thinking amazing and completely stress free! I will be daydreaming about that for the rest of the day. Oh, and worrying about whether or not he's eaten today......


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