Monday, 9 April 2012

Fussy eating (or not eating should I say)

My 3 year old has become a fussy eater. Now I'm sure this is hereditary as I was probably the most fussy child on the planet. This is not an exaggeration. I am sure I should be in the Guinness Book of Records somewhere but I'm not sure they had the "I won't eat it unless I know I'm going to like it" category.

She's always been a bit of a fuss pot about food but it's now coming to a real head. I think we've hit the 'fussy eater' stage big time.

It used to be mainly potato she didn't like - not in any format (believe me, I tried them all!). Now things she used to eat like peas, carrots, fish, etc are being mostly ignored. I say 'mostly' as she will push them around a bit and eat a few fork fulls but that's about it.

A Sunday roast (no we don't have them every week) for her now means one or two carrot pieces, a few peas picked up individually with a fork, some chicken (she doesn't like any other meat really) and a Yorkshire pud. Anything else is pushed around the plate. Yes, I put a bit of everything on regardless.

She loves pasta, sauce (tomato with chilli and garlic) and cheese.

She can eat a cheese sandwich every single lunchtime.

She loves omlette and beans.

She eats bolognese.

She does not eat much veg and won't touch cereal for breakfast. I used to think that didn't matter as she loved fruit. I considered this even better mentally patting myself on the back with a slightly smug "my daughter only eats fruit for breakfast" feeling. That lasted about a year and now I can't get a grape into her! She will eat a bite of toast before it mysteriously sticks to the roof of her mouth and she will then gag and cry about it, thus meaning she doesn't want it.

The strange thing is that the things she doesn't want to eat seem to change almost daily. So, can you imagine what it's like to try and cook a meal?

She's taken to trying to eat with her fingers again although she uses an adult knife and fork very well indeed and gets praise for doing so. I put this down to her seeing her 1 year old sister using her fingers and whilst I asked her not to do it and tried to encourage her by saying she sets the example, it often falls on partially-deaf ears (she will use the cutlery for a while, fingers for a while and then back to cutlery). She no longer wears a bib (the photo is a bit old now) as she says she doesn't want to. Fine, I can wash her clothes but she's not too messy anymore anyway.

We eat together as a family when we can, but when we can't (due to hubby's job), I always sit with the girls when they eat. We also sit at the table for mealtimes. I've occasionally dragged their chairs into the lounge for them to eat (not possible now as 3 year old no longer wants any kind of booster seat) as a treat but it makes no difference to what or how much she eats.

We have tried the "if you don't eat your dinner, you won't be having any pudding" approach but that gets us nowhere but me worrying she hasn't had enough. Yes, I have at times put my foot down with a firm hand but it's relatively pointless.

I get annoyed that I have cooked a nice meal and it's totally unappreciated. Hubby is less tolerant than me and I find myself feeling in some conflict with him. He pushes her to eat a bit more of this or some more of those but I'm beginning to feel like mealtime is a mini war zone.

I have taken the approach of "if you don't want it, leave it" and say nothing more but it does make me cross when she still just pushes things around and picks at this and that.

She does not get lots of sweets and snacks (of course she gets treats though, I'm not totally mean every day. Well, not much LOL). She doesn't have fizzy drinks or lots of juices. She has water with her dinner but I'm even wondering if that's filling her up to much as she does guzzle it down.

I worry that she is not getting all the vitamins and minerals she needs but she's happy, healthy and never stops running around until bedtime.

Is this just a phase I have to go through? If so, can someone tell me the date upon which it will end whilst I still have some hair!?

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