Children and Food

I consider myself a reasonable and generally mild mannered person, most of the time. I love my kids and I love being a mother, but there are moments in the day that make me question everything I think I know about myself. The major pitfalls are bath time and every meal.

Before I was a parent I thought I would be real hard core when it came to meals. You don't want to eat it?? WELL TOUGH!!! STARVE!!!!!... yea right. I'm so emotionally drained from the tug and war of it, I'm the complete opposite. Everyday I try to plan my meals based on foods I think they'll like. I try to incorporate some type of vegetable, a starch, and protein each time. Usually I'll comprise my list based on foods I've seen them eat and like in the past, but that by no means means they'll like it and eat it today. Why do kids change their food preferences like the wind? This gets especially tricky when it comes to vegetables. I try to put veggies in every meal but the veggies they'll eat are limited and whether they'll like it on that particular day is a toss up. And when I say "they" I actually mean my son, my daughter usually will eat anything.

The Meal Routine

With each meal my son will quickly eat whatever is on the plate that he likes. If it's shrimp and noodles, he'll eat all the shrimp first. If it's Tofu fried rice, he'll gobble up all the tofu etc. The first 10 minutes goes by and in this phase I start singing hymns and reciting verses to prepare myself.

Udon, broccoli and shrimp... I know it doesn't make sense but I thought he would eat it.

Udon, broccoli and shrimp... I know it doesn't make sense but I thought he would eat it.

(Humming in my head)

I need thee, oh, I need thee;

Ev'ry hour I need thee!

Oh, bless me now, my Savior;

I come to thee!

"Joey don't just eat the shrimp eat the broccoli too!"

"I will I will" as he picks up his fork and takes a miniscule bite and nibbles on it begrudgingly.

(30 minutes later....Everyone is done eating and I'm wiping the table)

"JOEY EAT YOUR FOOD!!!!!!!"

By this point he's just shifting around his food, playing with it making a mess.

"Mommy, I'm going to throw up.." (His usual deterrent)

"You only ate shrimp!!!!!!!! You need to finish the rest or else you'll be hungry in an hour!!!!

Swing low sweet chariot

Coming forth carry me home...

Another 20 minutes and it's a Mount Vesuvius eruption

JOEY. EAT. YOUR. FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By this point there's yelling, threats, sometimes a spanking etc. Then to get the last finish line, I have to spoon feed him each bite lest he finishes his food... never.

I can't tell how frustrating this routine is. There are no words. I start to sweat, my heart starts to palpitate, I feel my blood pressure rise. Seriously, it's a good thing I have low blood pressure, or else I'd be dead. For the last couple months each time (or whenever I would remember) I made a meal met with his abject ambivalence, I snapped a picture.

Lo and Behold the gallery of rejected food:

Portuguese sausage fried rice and egg.

He ate some of it but not without making a complete mess! I notice he'll only eat the egg if I cut it into the shape of a pizza.

Scrambled eggs, potatoes, onions, garlic and kale... yea I was reaching for the stars on this one.

 He wouldn't touch it, except for the bacon of course!

My daughter on the other hand gobbled it up, with her hands like a savage.

Below: Miyuk gook (seaweed soup) and fried rice. A meal he usually eats but today he decided he just wanted to stir his soup.

Mandoo soup, she loved it and was licking her fingers. Her brother took forever to eat it and wouldn't touch the spinach!!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup... wouldn't touch it.

Whole wheat french toast.

... he ate the bacon and after 40 mins of threats he ate one strip of toast. He kept drinking his juice to delay eating his food. He does it all the time and it's maddening.

Chicken soup with rice, made from scratch in the crock pot...

"MOMMY IT'S HURTING ME!!!" gag gag gag.....

Kalbi Jjim... this is always a toss up.

After a couple hours of torturous force feeding and mixing it around, this is what his plate looked like. He hated it! The rest of my family gobbled it up!

This is one of those ghettos meals, tofu miso soup with broccoli, fried mandoo and rice with kkim (nori).

"Mommy I'm done..." he says after only eating the tofu in his soup.

My daughter on the other hand... yea I got to get her to start using her utensils more..

30 minutes later everyone is done but him!!! What is he doing?? Stirring his soup for the umteenth time!!

Korean Chicken stew... with noodles instead of rice. I thought that would help him eat it, but no he just picked at forever.

Another ghetto meal: fried rice with tofu, broccoli, carrots, onions and garlic. With rib eye and seafood pancakes (not in picture).

30 minutes later... everyone is done... except him.

"I have one finger.."

"You're killing me Joey. YOU'RE KILLING ME!!!"

Foods my son will eat:

CAKE!

"Mommy can I have another slice??"

Why can't he be like that with his dinner?? Kaitlyn loves it too! But then again she eats anything.

Look at him eating so well! That's because I didn't make it!

Because the whole meal time thing is so emotionally and physically draining, once a week or so we'll go out for pizza. It's not only a night off from cooking but it's also a night off from trying to get him to eat. He'll just eat the pizza, no yelling, prompting, bribery. I think the one thing that limits our pizza outings is the fact that the pizzeria owner treats us like royalty because we've been there so often. It's embarrassing.

The funny thing is, he used to eat so well. Now he only eats well at school and when he's around other people. But home is a different story. I've heard that when they need to eat more they will. I'm still waiting for that day...

 

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