Meal time with a two year old can be quite trying and even entertaining. Lucian has had many quirks with eating that developed around the time he turned two. His younger brother is better but I’m sure that his days of eating whatever I serve him will be over as soon as he decides to exert his own will over what goes into his tummy. Perhaps he will go through any number of these stages that Lucian has gone or is currently going through.
Mommy’s Essential Guide to Meal Time by Lucian (age 2):
1. I will only eat one food. This only food is not what you want me to eat and probably not what you planned on serving. I will decide what this food is at the drop of a hat. You need to be a mind reader on what that food I want to eat is. If you guess wrong I will be very upset and demand that this favorite food be served. If you do not bend to my will I will protest very loudly to get my point across which may include tears. If you do happen to guess right on this one food I may decide to change my mind at any time.
2. I am not hungry. I decide when I want to eat. I do not want to eat at meal times. Instead I would like to eat more at snack time and skip meals altogether. I hope this does not cause any problems with your schedule because I live within my own schedule. This schedule is subject to change without notice.
3. I have decided that sweets are the best foods ever. Why can we not eat candy for dinner? I like candy. Can’t I have M&Ms? I got those once, remember? I had four M&Ms a month ago and I haven’t forgotten. I would like some more. I really like the green ones. Just because I don’t see candy in front of me I know we must have some in the house somewhere. If I can’t have candy, how about some cake, Mommy?
4. You made me what you thought was something I liked. Today I have decided that I don’t like it. I may have liked it last week or even yesterday but today, not so much. I won’t eat it despite your attempt to try and make something you think I already like. Nice try, Mommy but I don’t like that today. Try again tomorrow.
5. Mommy, I want you to place that certain food you are trying to serve, right there! (pointing) This is a very specific spot mommy and it won’t be as good on the other side of my plate. I have decided that “right there” is the best place for that to be. Please don’t even consider putting it “over there” because that is NOT where it goes. Thank you, Mommy.
6. Mommy, I have decided that my hand works better than my plate. I will simply gesture for you to put said food into my hand so I can skip the plate altogether. Mommy, can you please put that peanut butter in my hand? What? No, because it is greasy? I don’t mind Mommy. I’ll lick it off. Then I will use the back of my shirt to wipe my hands. It goes right there. (gesturing with cupped hand)
7. I really like to eat certain foods in different ways than they were intended. Can I have a scoop of butter? (It goes on my plate right there.) I will scoop up my ketchup and eat it like it is any other food on my plate. I love ketchup. It is like tomato soup. I would also like a whole bowl of parmesan cheese, please. I can’t get enough. A little sprinkle on my pasta doesn’t do it for me, Mommy. I need more. I need BIG parmesan. Mmmm…parmesan.
8. I need to stuff everything into my mouth at once. I will not listen to reason as to why it is important to take bites. I like to stuff it and make a really big wad in my mouth. The harder it is for me to chew, the better. I don’t mind if this makes me start to gag and I have to spit it out or if it takes me 5 minutes to finally swallow. I like having a big gob of bun in my mouth, Mommy. That is just how I like to eat. You can try to cut it up but I don’t mind filling my mouth with multiple pieces at once.
Does this sound like your child? I can’t be completely alone. Please share your own child’s guide to meal time. I’d love to hear your funny food stories.
Next week I will post some tips to make meal time a little smoother and to encourage healthy eating.