Many parent’s refer to their child/children as a ‘fussy eaters’, but few experience the completely soul crushing reality of it. Don’t get me wrong, having a child who is selective about food is hard no matter what the severity, but when an entire family becomes affected by mealtimes it becomes a far more serious issue…
For nearly three years now I have dealt with Theo’s food struggles. Three long hard years have been spent cutting sandwiches into dodgy looking Disney character shapes, googling methods for tackling the issue and weeping on my kitchen floor because I’ve run out of options.
This is my three year old son, yes, three! His weight is far below the ideal weight for his age, his features and build are that of a child at least a year or so younger than himself. Theo sobs at the sight of a plate, he struggles to control his emotions if the food he is given is not a ready salted crisp or an apple. He gets angry, he hits out, and usually, he remains hungry.
His developmental needs are still awaiting diagnosis and I know that these issues are a huge part of his problem with food, he uses food as a control and struggles with texture, but every difficulty can be somewhat managed and until recently, we just weren’t managing!
Yes you read that right… until recently.
Just a few weeks ago, something magical happened. Out of the blue he picked up a carrot stick, held it between his fingers without crying and took a bite. Not just one bite either, he ate the whole stick! I’m not ashamed to admit I cried buckets, I was so proud I could have burst. This was momentous, to me, this was a milestone similar in importance to his first steps.
My mind pondered over the last three years, what had I done recently that I hadn’t tried before? Was it my fault? How could I not make this happen sooner? And then I realised… I hadn’t done anything. I’ve been so unwell for the past few months that the majority of our meals have been nugget or finger shaped, it’s been safe, I haven’t pushed the boundaries.
All I’d had to do was bide my time…
When people had told me he’d get there eventually I hadn’t believed them, I saw no light at the end of a tunnel. I thought that I had to be the one to fix it, but the truth is, the only person that could change things was him… when he was ready, when he was willing, when he was able… and he did just that.
Every child is different, but all children will get there eventually.
I asked a few other bloggers about their experience with fussy eating and here is what they had to say, maybe you can pick up a few tips, or maybe you’ll just think ‘wow, we aren’t the only ones!’.
Leanne Cornelius (A Slice Of My Life Wales) tells me… ‘People may disagree with this but we’ve gone from sitting at the table and eating our meal to sitting on the sofa watching TV while eating. Our two year old eats so much more now, she is distracted by the TV and doesn’t think about what she is eating and just shovels it into her mouth! When we were all around the table she would look at the food, throw some on the floor and just generally be fussy with it. Not ideal but it works for us.’
Wendy Mallins (Daisies & Pie) has some fab recipes for sneaking extra veg into your child’s food, have you ever attempted to sneak carrot into your child’s diet? These recipes will help you do just that.
Debbie Sharatt (My Boys Club) gets her children involved in the kitchen and says ‘if they cook it, they eat it!’ – a fab tip – perhaps I’ll be getting Theo a little apron and chef’s hat.
Do you have any tips to share with other readers? Pop a comment below!