Jude Landry Store

Friday, July 8, 2011

This is getting out of hand.

I need your help.

Joan's eating habits are really starting to become a problem for me. (And I say for me, because maybe I'm the one that needs the work. Maybe you'll all tell me she's normal and leave it alone. We'll see.)

I understand picky-eaters. I'm kind of one of them. Jude is definitely one of them. We like normal stuff (you know, the stuff that you just made for dinner minus all the veggies and exotic spices).

And so I can deal with that. I puree loads of good vegetables, hide them in our foods and still serve a helping of "normal" veggies with our meal. But fruits - well, they don't get much attention 'round these parts.

But my issue tonight is not, "how to trick your family into eating healthy." It's that I cannot get Joan to eat the very normal, easy food at a normal rate. The kid literally needs to be reminded to continue eating pizza. Pizza. Left to her own devises, she took over an hour to finish half of a turkey sandwich.

Tonight I made chicken and black bean quesadillas and it took everything within her to chew those bites - even though I know she doesn't despise chicken, or beans, or cheese, or tortillas. She's eaten all of these before and a long while ago, she would have eaten this with little or no help.

I can't tell if she's bored, full, or just not liking the taste. She mostly seems willing to take the bites but she will keep chewing food indefinitely. We just can't get her to focus and finish. We give her dessert incentives, time limits, and the occasional food game (i.e. "I'll drop this bean from up high and you catch it and eat it."). But this is exhausting and doesn't really even seem to speed things along.

So, how do you approach your slow eater? Have you heard of something someone else has done?

If not, I'll have to seek out Dear, Abby. Is she still around?


Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

My sister was a slow eater -- hey, Lizbeth! I'm sure you read this -- and our mom would set a kitchen timer for her to have to clean her plate by the time the timer rang. I'm sure there were plenty of tears involved at our house, which is *not* my style, but I know it helped and you can always attune it to your family's needs.

Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

Well, I'm kind of like this with everything, but why rush her? Tripp is pretty pokey, but as long as he eats, it's really not a big deal. Otherwise, you may be coming off as nagging for lack of a better word, and it could become a control issue or even worse exasperate food issues. I like to think of it as an extension of the baby led feeding. You give her her food and let her eat. If she's hungry, she'll eat even if it's in her own time-frame. If she doesn't, give her the plate back next time she asks to eat. Plus, with all the food issues Americans have, rushing through a meal is a big one. Food is meant to be enjoyed and eaten slowly to be fully digested. So, my advice would just be to take a step back and let her be even if it's annoying to have to wait. Tripp is always the last one at the supper table!

Oh, and when we're out to eat or something and we really do need him to eat, so we can go, we'll say "ok, we need to finish. How about 5 more bites and we'll go?" Usually 5 more bites is plenty enough that he's full and quick enough that we can go. :)

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

I agree with Mandi. Henry always has a plate of uneaten food on the table. He munches (barely) on food all day long. He eats like a bird too.

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

I don't have my own toddler yet, but this comes from all my nanny experience. I would definitely try to stick with the timer system and tweak it to make it work. Make sure it's a timer that she can understand (she can see that time is getting shorter and it doesn't just arbitrarily go off) and be very consistent in setting it and only allowing her that much time to eat. Anything she doesn't finish goes back in the fridge or tossed out. And it may sound harsh, but if she gets hungry a short time later I would use it as a teaching opportunity to let her know she needs to eat when the food is available and let her be hungry until she would have normally had a snack or her next meal.

It may be easy now to just let her go at her own pace, but when more (potential) kids are in the picture it could really get tough. The large family I had to babysit for all had a duty after meals (wash dishes, sweep up the food, etc.) so it was important that they all finished eating and did their fair share.

And although it's still a ways off-she's going to need to learn to eat quickly by the time she goes to school or she'll be hungry!

Kristi said...

Landon barely eats anymore either. It seems to be a phase, something THEY can control in their lives. I used to make him sit and eat it, but now I just ask him if he's finished and save the plate of food and when he's hungry an hour later that's all he gets to eat. No snacks or anything else until the plate of lunch/supper is gone.

I was and still am the last at the table eating. There were many times
I was sitting at the table finishing 15 or more minutes after my sisters or parents were done eating. I was picky.
You're not alone!