I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge. Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year. Here’s a belated post about my insight of 2009: it should have been written two days ago, but we are staying at the in-laws’ and I’m forced to be sociable and away from the computer.
David is a fussy eater.
Let me clarify that. David eats four things: garlic bread, sausages, chocolate buttons, and Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches. David will not touch fresh fruit or vegetables, never mind put them in his mouth: they might bite back! Rice? Pasta? Anything that might be served with a sauce or have a sauce touch it? No way. (Yep, he’s his mother’s son!)
Until last week, Joe and I could reassure ourselves that “food is for fun until one”. We kept offering fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, different kinds of meat… He would poke at them, look disgusted, and throw them on the floor, mostly before they’d been anywhere near his mouth. We tried bribery: “Put this piece of banana in your mouth and you can have a chocolate button!”. We tried letting him get on with it: more food ended up on the floor and none was eaten. We tried all-out war: “You WILL eat this risotto. Here’s a lovely spoonful…”. It was spat out. As a result, he “topped up” on milk, to the point where most of his diet was milk, with a few snacks thrown in. He wasn’t sleeping as well as he should, he was waking up screaming hungry in the morning, and he was refusing to eat anything solid.
Two days ago, I did something mean, nasty and awful. I took his milk away.
Not completely away, you understand. I know that he still needs it for growth and development and vitamins. We just drastically reduced the amount he drinks overnight. We don’t offer it an hour before a meal or half an hour after: if he’s thirsty, he can drink water or juice. We offer it in the newborn-sized Avent bottles, and when he finishes it he can have water, unless he’s desparate. We’ve set ourselves the target of 5-600ml/day, and we’ve got there straight away. David, as you can imagine, is unimpressed with this state of affairs, but still doing really rather well.
This morning, he got up with Joe, and for breakfast he ate a whole croissant and a serving of plain yoghurt with pureed blueberries and blackberries. Half-way through this morning, he decided he was hungry, so ate a fruit pouch, two breadsticks, and a biscuit, and drank half a cup of juice. At lunch he tried quiche and baked potato, which he wouldn’t previously have touched, and ate four slices of garlic bread. At dinner, he spied the leftover profiteroles from Joe’s relatives’ Boxing Day family lunch, and was bribed into eating a fruit pouch. That was followed by both profiteroles, a large piece of Stollen, and a whole cup of juice. His total formula intake today? 500ml.
We’re not there yet. He still doesn’t like the texture of anything runny, he won’t touch sauce, and vegetables are apparently the work of the Devil. I was surprised that he ate the profiterole after the inital touching and poking, and still asked for more. I don’t think it’s a taste issue, but to do with texture: it certainly explains why he’ll eat purees but nothing lumpy or slimy.
So, there we are. My insight of the year: to do with taking away milk (and therefore being the meanest mother in the whole, world, ever, or so David will tell you) and making David eat Real Food. It works. I shouldn’t be scared to make parenting decisions and worry about what other people will think, because we need to do what works for us. I needn’t worry about David’s reaction, because he’ll survive. I am starting 2010 more confident as a parent than I ever was, and it’s fantastic.