Monday, May 31, 2010

Yes, I am a Short Order Cook!

I'm jealous of mums who have kids who will eat anything, or most things, or even some sort of variety of things.

Comments like...

I don't cook different dinners for my kids, I'm not a short order cook...

If you introduce new foods early, they'll eat anything...

I don't let my kids leave the table until they've eaten everything on their plate...

My kids eat what I tell them or they get nothing...

just make me feel like a bad mum.

And having my mother-in-law say to me, "What does he eat? You must tear your hair out," doesn't help either.

No, I don't tear my hair out.
No, I don't turn dinner time into a battle.
No, I don't make eating a major issue.

But I do see other mum's blogs with lovely dinner ideas and wish....if only my kids would eat that.
I do get sick of cooking the same thing for the kids...every.night.of.the.week.

I have one child that will attempt new foods, and is a pretty 'good' eater.
And I have one who won't. 
You can give me any advice or ideas under the sun, it's not going to change the fact that you cannot force a child to eat what they do not want to eat.

I've read a lot of books on this topic.
I've spoken to a lot of other mums.
I'm not a good cook, I'm not a foodie, so I'm not coming up with new ideas every day.
To be honest, I don't think it matters as much as some people do.

I don't fill our house with junk food.
We very, very rarely eat take-away.
My children are both in the healthy weight range for their ages.

It would be really nice if they did eat anything.
But it would be nicer if other people didn't put so much pressure on the whole eating issue.
They eat if they're hungry.
They eat healthily enough.
That's good enough for me.
I can live with the boredom of cooking the same thing for them every night, and something else for us,
because the one thing this parenting gig has taught me is that...

'this too will pass.'


  1. Nice blog Thea. My son doesn't eat so well and I used to tear my hair out. Not anymore. I watched a TV show that said as long as they eat, let them eat. Some days I kid you not he will have half a loaf of bread for dinner with vegemite. It will pass.


  2. Preaching to the choir!

    Occasionally my daughter will have periods of time where she's an enthusiastic eater. And if all I gave her was peanut butter on toast, I don't think I'd have a problem, but there are weeks it seems where she barely eats a thing.

    But she's in a healthy weight range (for her short-stuff height) and I figure as long as I just keep offering her healthy options it won't last forever.

    I dread making dinner. It seems so pointless - all of that effort for something she barely even touches. So I usually make things in bulk and have a few quick options to choose from throughout the week.

  3. You know, when I was about 5 I went through a stage where I would only eat White foods. Potato, rice, pasta, cauliflower, apples and white bread with butter.
    That was it!
    My poor mum was tearing her hair out until she realised that if I was hungry, I would eat, that it was a phase and I would grow out of it. which I did!

    Funnily enough, my Godson (who is 5) is now going though the exact same thing!

    There is a really good recipe book by Jessica Seinfield (Jerry Seinfields' wife) her kids were really picky eaters so she came up with great ideas on how to hide foods in foods that kids will eat.
    I bought this for my best friend and gets a real kick out of knowing her kids are gobbling up mac and cheese with hidden vegies! lol

    You are a great mum my lovely.
    You have nothing to worry about!!

  4. Thea, although my little girl is a great eater, I see so many friends deal with this with their kids. You're right, you can't force food down their throats.

    These days, people are convinced that every child should be 'perfect' and not unique at all. I have to put up with this stuff in different ways - 'Oh, she eats a lot doesn't she' and in the next breath telling me how 'big' she is, then someone else will say how 'loud' she is (she's a toddler for goodness sake!!).

    Some people are so paranoid that they create problems and project them onto you. It's so frustrating.

  5. Patience my young padawan, and yes it will pass. Eventually. My son is 17 and has probably only broadened his food horizons in the last 2 years.
    We still tease him and call him the chicken nugget kid.

  6. Thea, as a Mummy who is determined to break generations worth of "food equating to emotions" brainwashing, I think that your "don't make eating a major issue" stance is by far the most sensible approach.

  7. Megan, I think we have the same child - I am constantly being told that my daughter is a "solid, stocky child with such a healthy appetite". No matter what kids do everyone has an opinion.

    Thea, at least they something, my niece is currently being tube fed as she is refusing food (at 19months) they are tossing around the term baby anorexia!!! eeek.

    You can't force a child to sleep through the night, toilet train on cue or eat if they don't want to, DEEP BREATH, this too shall pass.

  8. Ah, I love you Thea. Amen to that. I refuse to make mealtimes into a battle. No, I won't take my toddler to the paed just because he exists on a diet of yoghurt, sandwiches, sultanas, bananas and apples. He's a healthy, happy little boy and i will not pathologisise meal times for him. The best I can do is continue to present with healthy, well rounded options- I can't force him to eat them!!

    And I'm so not a foodie either ;) Sad but true.

  9. My 3yo is appalling. He will not eat cut pieces of fruit or vegies. The closest he gets it sucking on an orange piece. I still have to give him baby fruit! The only way I can get any sort of vegie in to him, is to put it in say a spag bol dish, or give him hot chips! It's so frustrating, as the other two ate fruit and vegies (although not a great range) from a young age.

    All kids are different. One day, no doubt, you'll be complaining they're both eating you out of house and home! I'm quite certain that's what will happen to me!

  10. When I was 7, I went through a phase of eating nothing but:
    Tomato sauce sandwiches on white bread. Coco Pops. Fish fingers. Mango.

    Balanced? No. But 13 years later, I am the healthiest eater I know.

    You're right. This will pass. As they grow, they'll develop the ability to try and ENJOY new food!


  11. They eat if they're hungry.
    They eat healthily enough.

    Says it all really. I agree, no point turning meal times into a battle ground. You yourself eat different meals, you are being a good role model. Some kids are just more fussy than others.
    It's like people who took great pleasure in giving me "helpful" advice on getting my kids to sleep through the night. What, did they think I hadn't tried? Did they think I lived under a parenting rock?
    All kids are different, with different needs, tastes, wants... At the end of the day it's what works for you and your family.
    And you're right... this too will pass.

  12. I'm the same, have one that will try new things & one that has a very limited diet. They're the same as your kids, in the healthy weight range & I don't mind cooking seperately for them.

    Meh, whatever works.

  13. As Nomie said "They eat if they're hungry.
    They eat healthily enough." that is the important bit. Mine are the same - no new foods, stuck on the merry-go-round of pasta and pancakes but thats okay - in a way its all we can afford anyway so if we had kids longing for Stir Fry or Greek Salad every night (or any night) or something they would be very dissapointed.
    I'm over the perfect parent idea.

  14. I think I'm a bit late to the party on this but Thea I love your honesty. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. I do healthy, but on a limited rotation. I refuse to turn mealtimes into a battleground, there are too many other things for me to worry about!

  15. My daughter has a boy in her prep class who doesn't eat anything. Literally.
    He is allergic to protein. As a baby, everything he ate made him sick until his body took over and rejected everything that was put in his mouth. His natural reaction is to gag on all food.
    He drinks a special (expensive!) formula. He has recently started to go to eating lessons to try and curb his gag reflex. His mother was delighted last week when he ate a tiny bit of broccoli.

    I am happy that my children can eat. They don't always eat healthy food but they eat and I'm happy with that.

  16. Oh Thea I hear you. My 3 year old is Captain of beige foods only...bread , banana, potato (aka chips); chicken, crackers, get the drift! I try so hard not to beat myself up about it and I just can't fight with him about food...he will eat when he eats. I prepare a platter of a few different things and whatever he eats is ok. But like you I get a bit sick of the food police and all of the great advice and tips....I'm just a mum doing my best is all. And if I see that woman on the woolworths ad making her grated carrot/"orange" pasta....well i may just throw up!! hugs to you xx

  17. "They eat if they're hungry.
    They eat healthily enough.
    That's good enough for me"

    That says it all Thea. My 3 were all very different eaters but as they've matured so have their eating habits....there is light at the end of the tunnel

  18. You inspired me!

  19. With 3 children that have very different tastes - there are very few dinners that all of them love. Rule in my house is try it, if you don't like it - you can make a sandwich or a bowl of cereal with fruit. This way - I am not cooking different meals - THEY are.

  20. I so hear you, and thank you for being so open and honest! My Master 6 exists on vegemite sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, chips, hotdogs, chips and watermelon. Being our first born, and with us knowing no better, we had hair pulling mealtimes for a long time. Then we just gave in, and we are ALL much happier for it. Not long after, he was diagnosed with classic autism (moderate to severe on the scale) and found out he has an aversion to certain textures of food. Through speaking with the paediatrician and then a dietician, we discovered it is not uncommon at all for most children. I believe the dietician said something along the lines of "try to forcefeed the people who are saying you're a bad parent for not forcefeeding your child and see how THEY like it".

  21. You know, sometimes all four of us have something different for dinner. Meh... just do what works for you and your family. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

  22. My kids are Fussy eaters..and i must admit i do cook seperate meals some nights 3 different meals! and i HATE Cooking...
    i do try to cook meals i know the kids like that saves me from being in the kitchen any longer than i have to.
    The things you do for your kids!


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