Do you see this face?
How is it, that one little person, can cause such a ruckus in a family. How is it, that this little 35 pound, waif of a thing, can make any meal time our family has together, a nightmare? I don't know either, but she does. And I've had my last battle with her about eating [or rather, her non-eating]
The background information is this: she's a dreadful eater. She always has been. We have no idea how she has much energy as she does. She reminds me of the Energizer Bunny, "who just keeps going, and going, and going'... She hardly eats enough to keep a common housefly alive. In fact, I'll bet a common housefly eats more than Madelyn does. Did I mention, at the age of 5 years old she weighs in at a whopping 35 lbs? She's only in the 5th percentile for weight [for those of you with kids you know the chart I'm talking about].
To say that we're concerned would be an understatement. As her Mum, it's my job, to make sure that I keep my kids alive, by providing the basics: food, water, shelter. It's supposed to be her job as a kid, to eat, drink and be happy. But, she's a stubborn little thing... There are so many adjectives that I can use to describe her personality, that I could do a post on that topic alone. She's got qualities that are going to be tremendous aspect when she's a 20-something young woman. But at 5 years old, these qualities cause us to butt heads. A lot.
Back to meals. I begin to dread supper time, usually right before I start to prepare it. The list of the foods she does like you can count on 2 hands. We've always sat down to dinner as a family, which is something I really appreciated as a kid, and love that we are able to do for our family now. But the battle typically starts the moment her supper is put in front of her, with arms-crossed across her chest, a scowl of disapproval and a vocal "I am not hungry, I don't want supper tonight". The fight begins. Poor Barry and I tag team her. Poor Mason sits quietly eating his dinner, every once in awhile shaking his head [in disbelief perhaps]. Supper time at our house has become something I hate.
We've tried all sorts of different techniques. Yes, I've read dozens of books, including How to Deal with Your Strong Willed child... We've cut down on snacks. We've offered meals we know she likes [only to find out that while she liked that the last time we had it, she doesn't like it now] I've let her pick her own food from the fridge. I've had her help me prepare the meals. She sets the table for supper. We've tried to get her to try just one bite. We've forced her to eat what's on her plate [that usually ends in a vomiting experience, unpleasant for ALL OF US ] As Dr. Phil would say, "and just exactly how're those techniques work'in out for ya?" Well Dr. Phil, not well.
We are in the midst of a giant power struggle. And guess what... She's winning. So I'm done fighting about it. I'm done threatening. I'm done forcing her to eat. I'm done dreading our family meal time. I'm done with having poor Mason sit there, not knowing what to do. I'm done with sending her to her room. I'm done with making her sit at the table. I'm done with watching her nearly throw up. I'm done talking about it. I'm done with the dinner time tears. I'm just done.
If I can just get Barry on board, if we can completely ignore the fact that she won't eat. If we can allow ourselves to let her go to bed hungry. If we can not say to her "eat your supper please". If we can let her be excused from the table without touching her plate. If we can NOT bring up the issue of food at all, period. If we can make it the first few days, with all of these 'ifs', we might be onto something.
I'm willing to try. I'm willing to take the focus of the power struggle [her choosing what she will and won't eat] away from the situation all together. Please keep your fingers crossed that I'm strong enough to do this. I just can't battle her anymore.