I realized something yesterday while feeding Little Man. It doesn't have to be so wretchedly hard! When the twins were this age I could feed them one of two foodstuffs: flake baby oatmeal, (Not rice! Or barley! Oatmeal!) and sweet potato puree. Even then it was a whole EVENT of convincing them that they really did want to eat. Add to this the fact both girls have consistently remained in the bottom five percentile in weight ever since their birth, and you've got yourself a mommy who obsesses over calories, fats, and weight gain. The Squirt is especially concerning, turning four and hovering around 28 lbs.
In stark contrast, the baby is so EASY about food! I can feed him practically anything. I have yet to find a point where he pushes food away. Every mealtime is wham, bam, wash off our hands! It's heavenly! But is the kid shriveling away before my eyes? No! Quite plump is the boy! So I'm getting nervous- at some point he's going to do what all the other kids do, switch to nonfat or 2% milk, and fatty fat milkshakes will be frowned upon. While his waif-like sisters are hoarking down the butter and whole milk! Is this going to be a problem? Should I be worried? Will Little Man end up weighing 300 lbs, while Squirt becomes the only 30 lb. ballerina who doesn't need to have an eating disorder to stay thin as a rail? (and we're the parents who are just glad she gained the extra two pounds!)
Then there's the fact that I sat in bed last night trying in vain to fall asleep until I finally broke the silence (The Husband prefers silence when sleeping) and blurted out "is it unreasonable to demand meals not last an hour?!" (I heard The Husband groan- he knew we were going on another delightful jungle cruise entitled how-are-we-going-to-get-Squirt-to-freaking-eat-something?)
Yesterday she ate one waffle, ONE! Then... she refused to eat a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch... I hoped she would be so starving she'd eat dinner... which she didn't... I made a second meal... which she also did not touch... so she went to bed with a single slice of bread in her stomach because I caved on my brand new "eat what I fix you" mandate.
Ugh! Food is such an ISSUE with her! They take FOREVER to eat ANYTHING! It always turns into a fight. I'm scrambling to find some awesome prize for eating two bites of a meal- which is getting harder and harder to procure. I'm worried I'm going to have to trot out the entire cast of Yo Gabba Gabba just to get Squirt to finish her bowl of Mac & Cheese. I am pouring perfectly good sources of nutrients down my disposal three times a day. I loathe breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Because it means we're going to play the whole dog and pony show all... over... again.
I'm not saying that the girls are super picky, they're four! Give me a four year old who devours vegetables like they're cupcakes, and I will give you a hundred bucks. (well, maybe) They eat a range of foods. They like fruits! So that's something! But they are wearing me down. Drop by drop, wearing me into the Grand Canyon with their stubbornness... and inability to feel hunger pangs, apparently. I agonize over how much they end up eating, how much they ate the meal before, and I weigh them on the Wii Fit often... just hoping they'll gain a pound.
I thought I had come up with an answer last night as I proceeded to drive The Husband to the brink of exhaustion, having the same conversation about food for the past four years. I decided I would set a timer to 30 mins. After the "beep beep," the food would be whisked away until the next meal. It was a good plan. However, this plan was predicated on the assumption that at some point Squirt would be hungry. That assumption was wrong. And! To add insult to injury, a second after the timer went off, I noticed Squirt continued to finish her pancake, then asked for some yogurt.
... of course I gave it to her! Microwave timer be damned! The skin and bones at my kitchen table requested yogurt. And so help me! She was getting some yogurt! I told myself, "Hey, self! You're not a failure! She ate a pancake, and will eat.... crap- she didn't even look at the yogurt- and she wants to get down and play... crapcrapcrap!"
There goes my newest big-awesome-plan-for-dealing-with-food.