The other night at dinner – and I don’t need to tell you about all the work that goes into planning, preparing and serving dinner for six, let alone the legwork involved in actually getting all six people to sit down in one spot at the same time – our two-year-old took one look at her bowl of some shredded-chicken-and-quinoa dish and slapped the entire thing onto the bench, where it fell to the floor.
Cue… absolute silence.
The three older kids were wide-eyed, forks halfway to their mouths, waiting for some reaction to match the magnitude of this little display.
My husband and I looked at each other, and then the two-year-old doubled down.
She stood there on her chair, fists clenched, radiating defiance and looking me straight in the eyes.
And then she said, “Not that!”
That’s the thing about two-year-olds, you know? Because part of me was dying – she’s so tiny, with so much attitude, and all because I had the nerve to put this chicken/quinoa thing in front of her.
The other, bigger part wasn’t amused. That’s the part that made my close my eyes and mentally count to ten, which was the breather I needed to respond calmly.
Her dad beat me to it.
“Hey! That’s not okay. If you don’t want to eat it, fine,” he said, picking her up and taking her over to the staircase, where he sat her down on the fourth step. “But we don’t waste food like that. Sit here and think about that for a minute.”
He shot me an amused oh-my-g0d-can-you-believe-this-kid look on his way back to the table, and after cleaning up what was left of the mess (because the dogs love my cooking, at least), the rest of us sat down to eat.
E crept down the stairs a little later and raced across the room to fling herself in my arms, tearfully telling me she was sorry and she was ready for dinner.
I think she maybe had three bites, another of her habits.
The kid doesn’t eat. I mean, I didn’t realize we’d graduated to the slapping food off the table stage, but her MO is just to… not eat. With the other three at this age, I could put some food on the table in front of them and most of it would be gone by the time they were done.
But E just isn’t interested. She’s finally getting picky, turning her nose up at certain suspicious things, but that’s a very recent development. Before, she wasn’t eating because she just didn’t care to eat, even the usual kid faves.
She’s a string bean, obviously, hovering in the fifth to eighth percentile for weight and around the seventy-fifth for height.
But the doctor, the father of five kids himself, isn’t fazed.
“She’ll eat when she gets hungry,” he says, and that’s enough for us.
Pretty soon, she’ll be like the rest of our kids, who subsist mainly on a diet of simple carbs and sugar, with some dairy thrown in so I feel better about my mom skills. You know, the cereal/granola bar/sandwich/yogurt tube/banana/berries/string cheese diet.
Good news – the doctor said not to worry about that either.
P.S. If you’re really struggling like me, be sure to check out our post…